saving wildlife

Swiss wind park ordered to scale back to protect birds

Swiss wind park ordered to scale back to protect birds

Image: iStock

ZURICH, Nov 25

A new wind park in Switzerland must scale back its plans to deliver renewable energy in order to protect vulnerable bird species, the country's supreme court ruled on Wednesday.

Plans for the new wind park, in the Grenchenberg region in the Jura mountains, had sparked opposition from ornithologists and conservationists, who argued it would interfere with local populations of woodlarks and peregrine falcons, deemed vulnerable in Switzerland.

The wind park had aimed to deliver 16 megawatts of energy by 2023 through six new wind turbines, enough to cover two-thirds of the nearby town of Grenchen's electricity consumption.

Now, operator Windkraft Grenchen will be permitted to install only four of the six turbines, the Supreme Court ruled, saying efforts to ramp up renewable energy must be balanced with protecting biodiversity and landscapes.

"Ultimately, the decisive factor is that the two wind turbines located furthest to the east would be only 350 and 700 meters from a peregrine falcon nest," the Supreme Court said in a statement.

"They thus fall well short of the minimum distance of 1,000 meters, which the Sempach ornithological station describes as the lowest justifiable limit."

The push to find new sources of renewable energy has pitted conservationists and social activists against plans to massively ramp up carbon-neutral energy facilities, as the world seeks to stave off the worst consequences of climate change.

Norway's supreme court in October stripped two wind farms of their operating licences when it ruled the projects' construction violated the rights of indigenous reindeer herders.

BirdLife Switzerland, which had filed the complaint against the planned Swiss wind park, said the ruling confirmed the need to balance interests and plan wind parks accordingly.

"Climate change and the biodiversity crisis are two equally existential crises," the organisation said. "One cannot be solved at the expense of the other."

Wind energy association Suisse Eole said it was disappointed by the Supreme Court's decision.

"The biggest enemy of birds is and remains climate change," its president, Isabelle Chevalley said.

Windkraft Grenchen did not respond to a request for comment. Reuters

Tribune Shorts


Top Stories

India's first two Omicron cases detected in Karnataka, says government

India's first two Omicron cases detected in Karnataka

Govt says need not panic about Omicron detection but awarene...

Supreme Court slams Delhi govt over ‘Red Light On, Gaadi Off’ campaign

Supreme Court sets 24-hour deadline for govt to come up with concrete measures on air pollution

Bench hints at setting up task force; pulls up Delhi govt fo...

Delhi schools to be closed from Friday till further orders due to pollution

Delhi schools to be closed till further orders due to pollution

The decision comes after the Supreme Court on Thursday pulls...

India hits out at UN human rights body for comments on J-K

India hits out at UN human rights body for comments on Jammu and Kashmir

Arindam Bagchi, the spokesperson in the Ministry of External...

Cities

View All