THE ROYAL SOCIETY FOR THE Protection of Birds (RSPB) in the UK has said that Scotland’s pink footed geese population is under threat due to Iceland’s plans to build two hydro dams – the Karahnjukar hydro power project in east Iceland and the dam at Thjorsarver.

RSPB said the breeding grounds for the bird in Iceland, which spends its winter in Scotland, could be destroyed by the projects. Both dams are part of a scheme to supply power to US based Aluminium producer, Alcoa.

In July 2002, Alcoa and the Icelandic government signed a declaration of intent to build a power plant and smelter called the Karahnjukar hydro power project.

The development is expected to provide 2000 construction jobs and up to 1000 permanent positions in an area of Iceland that suffers from high unemployment.

The proposal, which is expected to be finalised in 2003, involves building 11 dams and a 57km2 reservoir north of the Vatnajokull glacier. Despite protests by environmentalists, work has already started on building access roads and tunnels for the scheme.