New Wind Power Decree in Saxony Stipulates Minimum Distance to Residential Housing

On 12 July 2013 representatives of the Saxon State Ministries of Economics and of the Interior signed a joint “Decree on Minimum Distances between Residential Housing and Priority Areas and Other Areas Suitable for Wind Power”. The decree essentially stipulates a general minimum distance of 1,000 metres between residential housing and wind power plants, a press release issued by the State of Saxony says.

This would help to “reduce conflicts between immissions and adverse affects on the landscape on the on hand and the need for a moderate and sensitive expansion of wind power”, the statement says.

Judging from the press release (the decree is not available yet), the minimum distance seems to refer mainly to immission control law and seems stricter than in other German states. The Bavarian wind power decree points out that the Federal Immissions Control Act does not stipulate a minimum distance, pointing out that below a distance of 800 metres an expert opinion on the noise caused by the wind power plant (Lärmschutzgutachten) would have to be submitted. The wind power decree of the State of Baden-Württemberg states that regional planning authorities should observe a minimum distance of 700 metres from areas in which housing can not only be permitted by way of exception when designating priority zones for wind power.

The Saxon press release did not comment on the legal nature of the decree (Erlass). However, under German law a decree is only binding for subordinate authorities of the issuing ministries. For the regional planning authorities, the municipalities and other authorities responsible for urban land use planing they only provide guidance and thus help to implement and interpret the respective legal provision in a uniform way.

The State of Saxony also informed that it plans to submit an amendment of the Federal Building Code (Baugesetzbuch) together with the State of Bavaria that would allow the federal states to set minimum standards to residential housing depending on the height of the wind power plant.

Source: State of Saxony

 

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