EU Guidance on wind energy development in accordance with the EU nature legislation
This document is designed principally for use by competent authorities and developers, as well as consultants, site managers and other practitioners who are involved in the planning, design, implementation or approval of wind farms plans or projects. It may also be of interest to other organisations such as NGOs and international bodies. During the course of its preparation, the document benefitted greatly from discussions with, and information supplied by, experts from Member States and key stakeholder groups, within the framework of an ad hoc group on wind energy and nature conservation.
Structure and Contents
The document is made up of 5 main sections:
• Chapter 1 provides an overview of wind energy development in Europe and of the policy framework at EU level.
• Chapter 2 introduces the key provisions of the EU’s biodiversity policy and the Habitats and Birds Directives. It also explores the relationship between Strategic Environmental Assessments under the SEA Directive, Environmental Impact Assessments under the EIA Directive and Appropriate Assessments under the Habitats Directive.6
• Chapter 3 reviews the potential impacts wind energy developments might have on various species such as birds, bats, marine mammals, and habitat types, such as blanket bogs. The information presented here is derived from an extensive review of existing scientific literature and other recognised sources of information.
• Chapter 4 examines the benefits of strategic planning for wind farm developments as a means to achieving a more efficient and integrated decision-making process that helps to avoid or minimise conflicts later on at the project level and, in particular, to encourage a appropriate siting of wind farms in areas of potentially low or no conflicts for wildlife. Various good practice examples are given of how this has been achieved in different parts of the EU.
• Chapter 5 focusses specifically on the provisions of Article 6 of the Habitats Directive and offers a step-by-step guide to the procedures to follow when assessing wind farm plans or projects that might affect Natura 2000 sites in particular. It provides advice and guidance on how to carry out an Appropriate Assessment and how to ensure that there is a sufficiently sound scientific information base upon which to determine whether or not the project is likely to have an adverse effect on the integrity of a Natura 2000 site.