Belgium complains to France over Dunkirk offshore wind turbine plan

The complaint to the European Commission claims that the farm will cause visual disturbances and obstruct shipping lanes

The wind farm project is planning to build 46 turbines by 2027, 10km off the Dunkirk coast
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Belgium has made a formal complaint against France in protest against a 46-turbine wind farm project 10km off the coast of Dunkirk.

Belgian Minister for Justice and the North Sea, Vincent Van Quickenborne, complained to the European Commission over the French project.

Residents on the Belgian side fear it will cause visual disturbances and obstruct shipping lanes to the UK. The complaint calls for the project to be moved so that it is 17km away from the coastline, rather than the currently-planned 10km.

The project, from EDF Renewables, Enbridge Éolien France, RWE Renewables, and French electricity grid system operator RTE, is set to build 46 wind turbines by 2027. It was announced in May last year.

If it goes ahead as planned, the farm is expected to generate up to 600 MW of electricity per year, enough for one million people in France.

Mr Van Quickenborne has previously told news agency Belga that the complaint was “necessary to safeguard our rights”, but said that France had been less-than-willing to engage in dialogue so far.

He said: “It’s a pity that France does not want to respond to this outstretched hand from the Belgian side.”

The European Commission now has three months to respond with an official opinion before the case is escalated to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

Wind farms have been controversial recently in France, and were a major point of contention between the two second-round presidential election candidates.

Winner Emmanuel Macron is a fierce proponent of wind farm energy and is planning to increase the number of wind farms by a factor of five over 15 years to ensure a mix of renewable energy sources.

This is in sharp contrast to far-right runner-up Marine Le Pen, who had planned to get rid of all such farms during her term.

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