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Brittany: Locals win appeal to cancel already built XXL wind turbines

The court recognised the three turbines' capacity to ‘damage the landscape and the amenities of the surrounding homes’ in the village

Three already-built wind turbines have had their authorisation removed by a Nantes Court of Appeal Pic: Mrs_Ya / Shutterstock

Three extra-large wind turbines which have already been built near a small Brittany village have had their authorisation removed by a court following a campaign led by local residents. 

The administrative Court of Appeal in Nantes made the decision to reverse approval previously granted by the prefecture for the small wind farm outside Noyal-Muzillac (Morbihan) yesterday (February 15).

The three wind turbines, which are situated in the Landes de Combocaire, are XXL structures, meaning that they are 117m high, with their blades adding a further 62 metres.

Their installation has for years been opposed by the local campaign group Vent de discorde, which launched legal proceedings objecting to the project in October 2020. 

However, during this initial court case the judge ruled that the “impact on the landscape, whether concerning the noise or the effect on wildlife, will be slight or else has already been taken into account.”

Brittany’s regional cultural authority had also expressed concern about the wind farm, but the departmental prefecture had given it the green light, in a decision then appealed by Vent de discorde.

The residents’ association claimed that it had identified anomalies and gaps in the report issued at the time of the project’s approval.  

“No site of this size has yet been installed in Brittany,” Vent de discorde said in a statement. 

“The area, although rural, is very built-up, with no less than 166 houses between 500 and 1,000m away and 332 houses between 500 and 1,800m away from these wind turbines built on a pocket-handkerchief patch of land in contempt of the preservation of our landscapes, which sit on the border of the Regional Natural Park of the Golfe du Morbihan.”

However, the turbines were built for use by Énergie éolienne de France (EEF) before the appeal decision was made and were about to be put into service.

In its decision, the Court of Appeal recognised the wind farm's capacity to “damage the landscape and the amenities of the surrounding homes.”

Representatives of the wind farm now have two months to make a new appeal to the Conseil d’État (France’s supreme court of appeal which uses senior barristers from the Court of Cassation).

Local residents hope that the project will be cancelled and the turbines dismantled. 

However, this may not be a straightforward process: following a similar judgement in Guern (Morbihan), it took 12 years for an order to be issued requiring the turbines to be taken down.

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