Notice to members




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EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

2009 - 2014


<Commission>{PETI}Committee on Petitions


{27/06/2012}27.6.2012

NOTICE TO MEMBERS

Subject: ITRE>Petition 1077/2011 by Sigrid Kremser (German), on behalf of Bürgerinitiative Starkenberg, on the planned construction of a wind farm in a breeding and foraging area of the black and red kite>

1. Summary of petition

The petitioner complains against the construction of a wind farm in the municipality of Starkenberg in Thüringen, Germany. The wind farm is planned in the breeding and foraging area of the black kite (Milvus migrans) and the red kite (Milvus milvus). The area is also the habitat of other animal species, including protected bats. In addition, the petitioner states that the wind turbines have been planned too close to houses, which entails risks to the health of local residents.



2. Admissibility

Declared admissible on 30 January 2012. Information requested from Commission under Rule 202(6).



3. Commission reply, received on 27 June 2012

The petitioner objects to the project of 2 wind mills in the area of the municipality Starkenberg (Germany/Thuringia). According to the petitioner, the proposed area is a breeding and foraging habitat for the Red Kite (Milvus milvus), Black Kite (Milvus migrans), Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo), European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster), Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius), Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio) and bats. The petitioner states that the planned wind farm contravenes European Nature legislation.

The Commission does not have the powers to authorise or stop projects. The role of the Commission is to ensure that Member States correctly apply EU law when they authorise projects. Nature protection is regulated at EU level by Directive 2009/174/EC1 (Birds Directive) and Directive 92/43/EEC2 (Habitats Directive).

All wild bird species naturally occurring in the European territory of the EU Member States are protected under the Birds Directive. Complemented by the Habitats Directive, both provide a mechanism to ensure that any project is evaluated with regard to their effects upon bird species. Besides that, the Commission strongly believes that wind farming and protection of wild birds can go hand in hand.

Wild birds but also other taxa and habitat types can be particularly sensitive to wind energy developments. Therefore, the Commission promotes good practice in relation to the location, planning, design, construction and operation of such facilities in order to minimize their impact on biodiversity. The Commission has consequently issued a guidance document focusing on wind-energy developments3.

The area of concern is located on the site of the construction material factory of Starkenberg. An investor is planning to build two wind mills. There is no Natura 2000 area close-by. According to art 4(2) and Annex II of the 'Environmental Impact Assessment Directive'4, it falls within the competence of the Member States whether wind energy projects are subject to an environmental impact assessment. Hence, according to the competent German authorities, this project was too small for such an assessment5.

The Commission understands that the wind energy priority area plan for Eastern Thuringia was developed in consultation with environmental NGOs. This plan identified 14 wind energy priority areas which are suitable for wind farms and represents 0,18% of Eastern Thuringia's territory. The Strategic Environmental Assessment for the regional plan for Eastern Thuringia was completed on 30th June 2006.

In the regional plan the area of concern is identified as priority area for wind energy facilities. Such strategic planning not only helps to identify the most appropriate locations of wind energy capacity but also helps to avoid the impacts on the natural environment. This is an authorising procedure before a concrete project of wind farm can be requested and planned at a later stage. As a result, the individual project is planned on a smaller scale than the strategic planning. Local environmental impacts, like significant negative effects on certain bird species – if any – will be identified and might have consequences in re-dimension of the wind park or in requesting mitigation measures.



Conclusions

On the basis of the information delivered by the Petitioner and publicly available documents of the national authorities, the Commission cannot conclude that there is a breach of EU nature legislation.




1 Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the conservation of wild birds, codifying Directive 79/409/EEC; OJ L 020, 26.1.2010, p.7

2 Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21.5.1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora; OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p.7

3 European Commission (2010): Guidance document on wind energy developments and Natura 2000. Link: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/natura2000/management/docs/Wind_farms.pdf

4 Directive 2011/92/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment, codifying Directive 85/337/EEC; OJ L 026, 28.1.2012

5 http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/bundesrecht/uvpg/gesamt.pdf


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PE492.725v01-00

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