For the first time in France, a court compelled the operator of a wind farm to destroy 4 of its machines to protect the landscape and reduce noise.

The business of wind power is bad, really. While the Economic Affairs Committee of the National Assembly has just made a report calling for severe restrictions on the development of turbines, risking France will not meet the targets set for renewable equipment in 2020, now the Justice is invited in the debate.
On February 4, the high court ruled against Montpellier Company wind to destroy 4 of 21 wind turbines of Névian park on the commune of Bizanet (Aude). A subsidiary of GDF Suez will also pay 428,673 euros to the plaintiff, a winemaker, and also a lawyer. Revealed by Energy 2007 , this decision is the first of a kind in France.

The case dates back more than 9 years. At the time, the Company intends to build a wind park on a ridge on the town of Névian, a lot that borders Bizanet, commune of the Aude. After the environmental impact assessment had been done, the French pioneer of the wind followed the usual administrative path: issuance of building permits authorized by the prefect of the Aude, operating permits by the Ministry of industry, etc.. On March 21, 2002, the farm (17.85 MW) delivered its first kilowatt hours into the network.

Alas, they did not take into account the owners of the Bouquignan winery , located several hundred meters away. Considering that the windmills alter ” landscape abnormally” and damaged “the scenery and the serenity of the monastery”, the owners and one of their neighbors seized the court on the ground of the farm affecting the landscape and exceeding the maximum permissible sound levels: two nuisances that affect the heritage value of both properties.

At the same time, the owners of Bouquignan commence proceedings before the Administrative Court to revoke the permit to build the wind farm. After 7 years of litigation, the plaintiffs are unsuccessful in those proceedings. By decision of 13 March 2008, the building permit, granted on July 19, 2001, is confirmed. But the complainant is persistent. The case is now in the hands of the Administrative Court of Appeal of Marseille.

Year in, year out, the first procedure is ongoing. And despite numerous studies and expert-cons, the results are disastrous for the industry. In its ruling, the court stated that “installation of a fleet of 21 wind turbines overlooking the farm field is, for the owners of this area, a disorder of normal development of the neighborhood area, a source of noise pollution, which results in property depreciation.” Considering that the 4 turbine closest to the area were responsible for the harm done, and the magistrate ordered their destruction,” under penalty of 1,000 euros per day of delay and within one month since this decision has been made.” The Wind Company is also ordered to pay € 200,000 in compensation of moral damage to those “who suffered and still do.” The company is also to pay any other compensation, € 228,673, to offset the depreciation of vineyard land.

Despite having paid the sum demanded (provisional execution) to the complainant, the industrialist appealed the decision. A call which, no doubt, is especially expected. Both by anti-wind pro.

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