Black rats could be culled in Sark to offset disturbances to seabirds caused by wind turbines in England.

Energy firm Orsted said culling the predators could increase the birds’ survival chances on the island and help maintain British Isles populations.

The aim is to compensate for a planned wind farm called Hornsea Four with 180 turbines about 40 miles (65km) off Flamborough Head in Yorkshire.

A survey has been handed to all Sark residents to gather their opinions.

Concerns have been raised that the new English turbines will disturb seabirds, which often come to Sark as part of their migrations.

It is thought reducing rats in Sark will protect the bird populations overall if they are affected in Yorkshire.

Image caption,

A survey has been handed to all residents in Sark to gather their opinions

Mike Day, from renewable energy company Orsted, said “islands and islets in the Bailiwick of Guernsey” were on a “short-list of potential locations for a compensation measure”.

He said the survey would “determine feasibility and effectiveness of the various compensation measures options available”.

“This includes two studies into the presence and impact of predators, such as rats, on the islands of Alderney, Herm, Sark and their nearby islets and stacks,” he said.

Birds affected by predators on Sark included puffins, guillemots and razorbills, said Sark resident and wildlife photographer Sue Daly.

“You do not want rats in your house, but I cannot see that they are causing that much trouble for wildlife,” she said.

“We have other predators too, like feral cats, crows and magpies, and it would not be possible to get rid of them all.

“I am not a rat fan; I am against what seems to be complete greenwash.”

It is believed the company is due to hold a public meeting later in the year.

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