Croatia: Environment impact study for Wind farms rejected at court

, SEE Energy News

At the corridor where the Wind Farm is to be located is the fly over corridor for birds, three more wind farms are disputable.

The Administrative Court in Split adopted a lawsuit of BIOM Association which annuls the decision of the Ministry of Environment and Nature on the admissibility of building a wind farm “Bila Ploča”, with integrated capacity of 33 MW in the southwest of Pelješac in the municipality of Orebić. This is the first such conviction that stops the construction of a wind farm in the conservation area that is of importance for the protection of birds in Croatia, while saying that the environment study made by APO, was professionally unfounded.

For years BIOM Association has been warning us of unprofessionally made studies and the irregularities in the environmental impact assessment and the ecological network Natura 2000. On Monday, 28 December 2015, Judge Miranda Gulišija Jurišić at the Administrative Court in Split issued a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, BIOM Association and the Croatian society for bird and nature protection. BIOM Association filed a suit in February 2013 after the Ministry of Environment and Nature Protection issued a decision that assessed that the construction of the wind farm Bila Ploča is acceptable for the environment and the ecological network,  even though the area of ​​the intervention was located on an important corridor of birds fly over. “Already during the public debate, we have warned that study was unfounded and of the absurd situation that the wind farm is to be constructed in the area that state institutions identified as internationally important for the conservation of birds. Badly positioned wind farms can cause high mortality in birds and bats who suffer as a result of collisions with wind turbine blades, “said MS Vedran Lucic from the Association BIOM. However, neither the majority of the expert advisory committee, nor the then Ministry of Environmental Protection did not see an obstacle to authorize the construction of the wind farm on the pass above Orebić over which flies a large number of endangered bird species such as Marsh Harrier, Short-toed Eagle and the Honey Buzzard, says the Association BIOM. This is not the only dispute that Association BIOM is conducting before the administrative courts in Croatia. There are currently three active lawsuits that challenge the construction of wind farms in the wider area of ​​Velebit and Dinara, also in areas important for the protection of birds. As the association’s spokesman Vedran Lucic said, association seeks to challenge in court the environmental studies for the  WF Senj-Brinje (156 MW) by the investor Energija Senj, WF Oton (26 MW), by the investor Nova Energija from Solina and WF Rust (120 MW), by Končar. In most cases, Lucić says, the problem is the improperly performed study, poor insight in the ecological network, and the cumulative impact of this and surrounding interventions on the area of nesting or fly over of protected species.

“Poorly done expert studies are common because they are the result of direct negotiation between the investor and the people doing the impact study. Due to market competition the experts pander to the investor so that studies mostly approve the procedure rather than consider it objectively and critically. The competent Ministry, instead of stopping this bad practice, tolerates this way of acting to the detriment of endangered species and habitats in Croatia”, concludes the Association BIOM, transmits