The verdict of the highest Hessian administrative court represents a setback for the Green Ministers Tarek Al-Wazir (economy) and Priska Hinz (environment), who urged the faster expansion of wind energy. They tried to lower the species protections in order to allow for the expansion of wind power under a decree that came into force two weeks ago.
However, the VGH Senate - two judges and one judge - made it clear that it did not consider these requirements to be correct in the present case with regard to the red kite. He also pointed out that the minister himself had determined that their decree was "not binding on courts".
In Trendelburg there is a red kite nest around 1300 meters away from the intended wind turbine location. The bird nests in a specially protected area, namely a flora and fauna habitat (FFH), while the wind turbines are to be built outside the FFH area.
The judges state "that it corresponds to the current state of science to require a minimum distance of 1500 meters between the red kite nest and the wind turbines". Therefore, the planned wind turbine construction is "in all probability illegal".
In the decree of the state government, a distance of 1000 meters from breeding red kite populations is considered sufficient. 1500 meters are also possible in bird sanctuaries.
The administrative regulation also opens up the opportunity for wind turbines to be built even closer to red kite nests, namely only 500 meters away. As the birds usually do not fly too high, "a rotor-free zone of at least 80 meters above ground" is sufficient, so that "there is no significant increase in the risk of killing individual red kite populations affected by the planning," says the decree.
In Trendelburg, plants are planned to be 212 meters high, the rotors of which would rotate more than 80 meters from the ground. Nevertheless, the court insists on the 1500 meter distance.
According to the state government, however, no conclusions can be drawn from this for other cases. The case in Trendelburg is a "complex special case" because it is about the impairment of the FFH area, said the spokeswoman for the environment minister.
The Schutzgemeinschaft Deutscher Wald (SDW), which had sued together with a citizens' initiative, sees the urgent decision as having far-reaching significance. The state chairman of the SDW, the former Trendelburg mayor Bernhard Klug, called the verdict “a resounding slap in the face against the ministries involved, who gave in to the pressure of the wind energy lobby”.
The ministries had drawn up the decree together with environmental organizations such as BUND, Nabu and the Hessian Society for Ornithology and Nature Conservation. The SDW did not participate.
Translation to English assisted using Google Translate