French senators give mayors veto power over wind turbine projects – EURACTIV.com
Senators on Friday, June 18 adopted an amendment giving municipalities the right to veto a wind turbine project under the currently debated climate and resilience law. EURACTIV France reports.
At the end of a heated debate, the senators voted in favor of obtaining by the mayors of a right of veto on the projects of wind farms in order to promote “the social acceptability of wind farms, in with a view to ensuring harmonious development, that is to say more in tune with the territories and their inhabitants ”. .
According to conservative Republican senator Etienne Blanc, light pollution, noise pollution, the protection of biodiversity and the impact on bird migration corridors are all criteria to be taken into account before launching the construction of a park. wind power.
“We had not sufficiently taken into account the recycling of the wind turbine itself, but also the recycling of concrete,” Blanc said.
“It’s about better establishing consultation and dialogue. Before filing the environmental authorization, the file must be filed with the municipality where the power plant is to be installed and its mayor, ”added Blanc, who sits among the right-wing majority in the Senate.
The amendment provides for a period of one month during which the mayors can study the project, and possibly veto it. Speaking to his fellow senators, Blanc stressed that his party defends a “strengthened democracy”, with “more consultation” of local authorities regarding other facilities such as nuclear power.
“We cannot be in favor of consultation on nuclear matters and against consultation on wind power,” he argued.
‘Are you serious? Can you believe it? ‘
However, according to environmental senator Ronan Dantec, “this kind of amendment brings down any French energy strategy” and undermines the country’s climate objectives. “It does not matter,” said Dantec who called on the senators to be “totally lost and to go with the wind”.
“We will not be able to meet the needs of the future,” continued Dantec, referring to the latest report from the operator of the French electricity transmission network RTE.
“Without wind power, we will not be able to do it,” he said, asking other senators: “But where are we going?” Are you serious? Can you believe it? “
Green Senator Daniel Salmon criticized the “smear campaign against wind turbines” which he called “quite incredible”.
“We ask questions that we have never asked ourselves on any other installation. They talk about the concrete of wind turbines. But that’s 0.5% of the concrete poured in France, “he said, asking if senators were wondering” about the millions of birds that are killed by cars every day? “
“We completely missed the target for wind power in France,” he added.
“More reason and less passion”
Minister for Ecological Transition Barbara Pompili also called the mayor’s veto “dangerous” and called for “more reason and less passion” in the debate.
While wind power does not mix well in France, the Minister wishes to include it in the country’s future energy mix without neglecting “the imperative to preserve our cultural and natural heritage”.
Last May, the government presented its roadmap for wind power to the regional prefects, asking them to map areas favorable to the installation of wind turbines. At present, only 20% of the country’s territory is suitable for the installation of wind turbines.
“With the right of veto, there is no incentive to consult and find solutions together,” Pompili said, adding that this could be detrimental to other renewable energy sources like photovoltaic panels or solar energy. “anaerobic digestion” of biological waste, which may also be vetoed by local mayors.
France has largely missed its 2020 renewable energy targets agreed at EU level and continues to depend mainly on nuclear energy, which alone accounts for 78% of its electricity production.
The country will need to step up a gear if it is to meet the EU’s future renewable energy targets for 2030, which should be even more ambitious.
[Edited by Frédéric Simon]