The Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State in the Netherlands overturned the decisions for the construction of wind turbines near Oss and Houten in two separate rulings on Wednesday this week. This means that there is currently no permission to build these wind turbines belonging to the Elzenburg-De Geer and Goyerbrug Wind Farms respectively.
Although the end result is the same, the reason behind the decisions was different. In the case of the onshore Goyerbrug project, the recent ruling by the Council of State on June 30, following the Nevele judgment, is showing its impact.
Goyerbrug Wind Farm in Houten
Goyerbrug Wind Farm is an initiative of Windpark Goyerbrug bv. The plan is for four wind turbines with a maximum hub height of 166 meters south of the Amsterdam Rijnkanaal. The farm would have a capacity of up to 22.4 MW, allowing for an annual production of about 67 GWh of electricity. In October 2019, the environmental permit for the plan was granted.
A foundation that stands up for the local interest and two local residents have appealed against this ruling. They fear among other things damage to the landscape and serious noise pollution in the area as a result of the planned wind farm. In their appeal they referred among other things to the Nevele judgment. As a consequence, the environmental permit for Goyerbrug Wind Farm in Houten was overturned because the Municipal Executive applied the national wind turbine standards from the Activities Decree and the Activities Regulation in the environmental permit. However, as a result of a ruling by the Administrative Law Division on 30 June last mentioned earlier, those standards may no longer be used until the government has made an environmental assessment for them.
Elzenburg – De Geer Wind Farm in Oss
The Elzenburg-De Geer Wind Farm is an initiative of energy company Pure Energie and De Wachtmeesters. The plan is for four wind turbines with a maximum tip height of 210 meters to the northeast of the business park of the same name in Oss. The turbines are expected to generate about 50 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually. On June 27, 2019, the City Council of Oss adopted the zoning plan “Windmill Park Elzenburg – De Geer”. On August 1, 2019, the Board of Oss granted two environmental permits.
Residents from Macharen and Berghem have lodged an appeal against these decisions. They fear among other things noise pollution and health risks. In this plan, the national wind turbine standards from the Activities Decree and the Activities Regulation have not been used, so the aforementioned ruling of 30 June has no consequences. However, the Administrative Jurisdiction Division does find that the zoning plan for the wind turbine in Oss is in conflict with, among other things, provincial wind turbine regulations. In the Regulation space of the province of Noord-Brabant is stipulated that there must be financial certainty that the wind turbines will be demolished after 25 years. The municipal council of Oss should have included this condition in the zoning plan, but it did not. In the ruling, the Division nullifies the decisions of the Municipal Council and the Board.
Possible to make new decisions
In both cases the rulings mean that there is currently no permission to build the wind turbines. Both municipalities can take new decisions to make the wind farms still possible. The municipality of Houten may choose to set its own wind turbine standards as a municipality is not obliged to make use of the national wind turbine regulations. In a possible new decision for the wind turbines in Oss, the municipality will have to take into account, among other things, the latest wind farm conditions from the Interim Environmental Regulation of the province of Noord-Brabant. Source: Council of State Image: Artist impression of Elzenburg-De Geer Wind Farm. Source: Windparkelzenburgdegeer.nl