environmental standards for wind turbines in wind farms with at least 3 turbines
draft decision amending the Environmental Management Activities Decree and some decisions under the Environment Act relating to case law on wind farms
The draft decision concerns standards for the environmental impact caused by wind turbines (light and noise pollution, external security). The draft decision includes amendments to the Environmental Management Activities Decree (adopted on the basis of the Environmental Management Act) and the future Environmental Activities Decree and the Environmental Quality Decree (adopted on the basis of the Environment Act). The amendment of the latter decree, like the whole decree, does not contain any technical requirements.
Wind turbines in wind farms of at least 3 wind turbines for which an planning permission was granted on 30 June 2021 and which were then included in the zoning plan (land-use planning) must comply with the planned environmental standards set out in the draft decision. The draft decision is based on the case law of the Court of Justice of the EU, which has now been confirmed by the national supreme courts in the Netherlands for the Dutch situation, from which it follows that direct general rules for wind turbines constituting a framework for implementing decisions, such as the planning permission and the zoning plan, must be subject to an environmental assessment prior to their adoption. In the absence of an environmental assessment, applicable general rules should be disapplied. Pending new general rules for wind turbines, for which an environmental assessment is currently being carried out, a bridging scheme is provided to address the gap in environmental protection against wind farms resulting from case law. The aim is to provide the desired environmental protection to residents of wind farms authorised and designated on 30 June 2021. For wind farms authorised and designated after 30 June 2021, the bridging scheme does not apply. For this purpose, the planning permission and the zoning plan must, after an environmental assessment, provide for the desired environmental protection. The previous general rules for wind turbines remain unchanged and continue to apply for wind turbines which are not part of wind farms of at least 3 wind turbines, because, according to the national supreme courts, it is not necessary to carry out an environmental assessment.
The rules contain provisions for mutual recognition:
- Article 1.3 Environmental management activities decision
A certificate or accreditation as referred to in or pursuant to this decision or in a non-public law regulation, the NRB (NRB, Nederlandse Richtlijn Bodembescherming bedrijfsmatige ctiviteiten, Dutch Soil Protection Directive for commercial activities) referred to in this Decision shall be treated as equivalent to a certificate or accreditation referred to in this Decision, in so far as the wording of Article 1.7(3) is complied with in the application of this Decision, a certificate or accreditation issued by a competent body in another Member State of the European Union or in a State which is not a Member State of the European Union, which is a party to a treaty to that effect or partly to that effect which binds the Netherlands, on the basis of investigations or
documents providing a level of protection at least equivalent to the level pursued by the national investigations or documents.
Article 1.3 Decision on activities in the environment (mutual recognition)
A recognition, certificate, inspection or standard as referred to in this Decision shall be deemed equivalent to a recognition, certificate, inspection or standard issued, implemented, drafted or approved by a competent independent body in another Member State of the European Union, or in a state that is not a Member State of the European Union but which is party to a treaty binding the Netherlands, with a level of protection that is at least equivalent to the target level under national requirements.