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Wind farm litigation! With the rise of non-fossil fuels, the number of wind turbines has  continued  to grow in recent years… If a wind farm must be built near your home, what are the  possible remedies  ?

Discover the project

Start by researching the scope of the project, including the number and size of wind turbines. Also try to find out how far this project is from your place of residence so that you can assess the impact that its realization could have on your property and on your living conditions. To obtain this information, go to the town hall of your place of residence. You can also consider joining forces with other local residents to create an association: you can then pool legal costs and assert your rights together.

Check project progress

If the project is underway, find out about its progress with the town hall or the prefecture. You will then know if a public inquiry is organized, and if you can still participate. In this case, you will be able to consult the elements of the file on site and meet the investigating commissioner. You will be able to discuss with him and submit written observations highlighting all the grievances you have against this project. Your intervention may possibly enable you to obtain the abandonment of the project and an unfavorable opinion from the investigating commissioner. If, despite these steps, the opinion of the investigating commissioner remains favorable to the project, or if the deadline for the public inquiry has already expired, you always have the possibility of contesting the decision taken by informal appeal to the prefect.

Contact the prefect

If the building permit has already been issued, you can ask the prefect to withdraw his decision by free appeal by sending a registered letter. In this letter, you will outline your grievances to try to obtain a cancellation of the decision by the administration so that the work does not take place. You have a period of two months to send this letter to the prefect, from the date of posting of the building permit on the premises where the project will be carried out. You must imperatively send a copy of this free appeal to the beneficiary of the building permit, ie the company wishing to create the wind farm. The prefect has a period of two months to accept or not this gracious appeal. If this appeal was rejected,

Try to cancel the building permit

You can apply directly, or following an unsuccessful appeal, to the administrative courtin order to obtain the cancellation of the building permit by means of a contentious appeal. You have a period of two months to make this appeal, from the date of posting of the building permit on the site of the future project. It is strongly recommended to be assisted by a lawyer. Indeed, the arguments developed must refer only to urban planning aspects: for example, insufficient building permit file, poor workmanship linked to the public inquiry, and above all, violations of local planning rules. You will not be able to claim the personal damages that you are likely to suffer. You must notify this appeal to the prefect, but also to the company that receives the building permit. If you do not complete this last formality, the appeal will be inadmissible.

Challenge the operating license

With the entry into force of the Grenelle 2 law, a new authorization is required for wind turbine construction projects: the authorization to operate a classified installation. This authorization, which aims to govern the entire lifespan of wind turbines, now takes into account not only the urban planning aspect, but also the environmental aspect of the project. You have the possibility of contesting this authorization issued by the prefect within six months from the date of posting of the authorization to operate in the field. You will have to appeal to the administrative court. In this case, you will not be able to request an informal appeal. You will also not be able to put forward urban planning or personal arguments. You can challenge the consistency of the file,

Request compensation

If the project is carried out, you can ask to be compensated for the damages you suffer. To do this, you can go to the tribunal de grande instance and claim the personal damages that are directly linked to the impact that the project will have on your home: landscape nuisances, loss of market value of your property, etc., you are strongly advised to seek the assistance of a lawyer who will help you assess the damage and seek financial compensation from the court.

DAMY Law Firm , Nice, Construction of a wind farm: what recourse? Update 2016.