Menold Bezler and W-I-N-D Energien GmbH successful before the Stuttgart Administrative Court
Stuttgart, 11 February 2015
For the first time since the amendment to the State Land Use Planning Act two municipalities have taken legal action against a wind farm approved within their districts. But in summary proceedings, the Administrative Court of Stuttgart has now given the go-ahead for the Büttenbuch development in Ostalbkreis. The local municipalities Eschach and Goeggingen had called for suspensive effect of legal approval for emission control issued by the district office Ostalbkreis for three wind turbines of the type Nordex N 117 with a total height of almost 200 meters and a generating capacity of 2.4 megawatts. The court rejected this demand late last year and has now filed its opinion. It expects that in all probability the two municipalities’ opposition to the approval will not succeed. There is therefore no justification that permission for the start of construction should be given only after the conclusion of opposition and subsequent appeal proceedings.
The draft of the land development plan of the municipal administration association Leintal-Frickenhofer Höhe provides for a wind energy concentration zone at the site of the planned wind farm, the regional plan for Ostwürttemberg provides for a wind energy priority area. Contrary to the municipalities Eschach and Goeggingen the Stuttgart judges do not believe that the interests of nature and landscape protection predominate. The municipalities had argued that the required wind conditions are not substantiated by the submitted reports. According to the court there is no reason to fear a visual impact on the surrounding landscape nor is this particularly worthy of protection. Similarly, the required level of testing concerning the conservation of species regarding bats, red kites, lizards and dormice front lawn have been met.
In summary proceedings, the Administrative Court has ruled only on the suspensive effect of the Eschacher and Gögginger opposition. The judges will decide on opposition to the approval only in the main proceedings.
Following the decision in the summary proceedings, W-I-N-D Energien GmbH plans to start with construction in the near future. It had developed the wind farm project and had it not been for the legal proceedings, the project could have been realised by the end of December 2014. The reform of the renewable energies law (EEG) meant that the company had already suffered a lower feed-in tariff; further delay would have led to even greater financial losses.
Menold Bezler law firm provided extensive legal advice to and representation for W-I-N-D Energien GmbH throughout the approval and legal proceedings of the Büttenbuch wind farm project.
Legal adviser to W-I-N-D Energien GmbH:
Menold Bezler (Stuttgart): Verena Rösner (Partner, Environmental Law, Public Building and Planning Law)
Legal adviser to the Eschach and Göggingen municipalities:
Dolde Mayen & Partner (Stuttgart): Dr. Tina Bergmann
Legal adviser to the district office of Ostalbkreis:
Julia Stivala (In-house)
Experts: Verena Rösner