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CASE REF. ACCC/C/2012/68

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Why the Scottish and Uk Renewables Energy Policy should be tested in a court of law

In its decision on the above case, the ruling of the Committee is that the UK is non- compliant with the UN and EU’s legal framework and the UK’s own international treaty arrangements with regard to the implementation of its renewable energy programme, where that programmes requires renewable energy targets.

This involves the UK’s NREAP (National Renewable Energy Action Plan). As the Plan says ‘Member States have notified their national renewable energy action plans to the EC by 30 June 2010. Member States set out the sectorial targets, the technology mix they expect to use, the trajectory they will follow and the measures and reforms they will undertake to overcome the barriers to developing renewable energy.’

This will clearly impact upon the current policy particularly in the field of public participation as thousands of turbines have been installed prior to programmes and consultations being finalised.

Past Communications at UNECE have shown that it is rare to see any major alterations to the draft decisions by the time they are finalised by the Committee at its next quarterly meeting.

This issue has also become as much about democracy as it is about the the technology itself. Wind power has had several clearly identified negative effects on the population via the now recognised non-compliance with this Convention. These are rising in severity as more developments are consented. The strengths of the ‘grass roots’ of democracy are now legitimised by the Committee’s decision on admissibility of the complaint. The Committee have permitted the complaint to have been made on behalf of a Community Council – despite the UK’s attempt made at the Hearing to prevent this. The importance of this cannot be underestimated should other Community Councils wish to follow a similar route in the future.

The ruling demonstrates that permitting or consent of any further developments to implement the content of the NREAP would be potentially legally invalid, until such time as the NREAP is fully compliant with the requirements defined under EU and National law, in conformity with existing Treaty Arrangements with regard to environmental democracy and public participation, as enshrined in the Åarhus Convention.


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