WIRRAL'S rare birds could be put at risk by plans for a new windfarm near the mouth of the Dee Estuary.

According to the RSPB, which is monitoring a similar windfarm off Denmark, the scheme to put 200 turbines 22km from the coast has the potential to harm wildlife.

However, supporters say that, if the project goes ahead, it will provide renewable energy to 600,000 homes.

RSPB development officer Daniel Pullan said: "In windfarms in Spain there have been problems with birds colliding with the turbines. There is also a big offshore windfarm in Denmark where we are doing some monitoring."

"The development is still at the very early stages and they are still drawing up proposals, and at the moment we cannot say for sure whether it is likely to have an impact on birds, but the potential is there.

"This could be possibly through collision with the turbines, or disturbing feeding birds, or birds not wanting to fly through. It could have a barrier effect on migrations."

The Dee Estuary is well known for its many rare birds. Gayton Sands nature reserve has 11 pairs of lapwings and hopes to increase them to 20.

This, as well as the visual factor, has prompted serious concerns about the proposed Gwynt y Mor offshore wind farm which, if it goes ahead, will be even larger than the one at North Hoyle. The turbines there are 67 metres high.

Yesterday, during Prime Minister's Question Time, Wirral South MP Ben Chapman called for the nuclear option for generating power to be reconsidered, adding that he felt windfarms were a "blight" on sea and land..

Afterwards, Mr Chapman said: "We need to think carefully about windfarms which are a blight on the environment, whether it's the seascape or landscape.

"They are expensive and relatively inefficient, effect wildlife, marine life, marine safety, and produce relatively little power."

Mr Chapman added: "I think it's accepted that with hindsight the impact of the North Hoyle windfarm is much greater than anticipated."

A spokesman for Npower renewables said the scheme was still at the very early stages and most details were still to be worked out.

He added: "A site that could consist of up to 200 turbines and be capable of generating enough electricity for around 600,000 homes each year is a major asset to the Welsh and English economy as well as being a major contributor to the UK's electricity market.

"As part of our ongoing consultation process, Npower renewables will be holding public exhibitions."