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Local governments to decide placement of wind generators

The Ministry of the Environment is preparing a regulation which would give the decision-making power over the placement of wind turbines to local governments.

According to the Minister of the Environment Jaanus Tamkivi, the preparation of the new regulation, which establishes the distances between residential areas and wind turbines, is now at its final stage. Tamkivi said that he hopes the regulation will be adopted before mid-February.

The regulation would give local governments the power to set additional restrictions for building the turbines, the minister said, calling it “the best possible solution.” The new regulation would also stipulate that large wind farms be built at least 1.5 to 2 kilometers away from residential areas, Tamkivi added – a restriction not present in the Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management System Act.

Based on the correspondence between the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of the Environment, Eesti Päevaleht wrote on February 5 that the current law does not regulate the distance between wind turbines and residential areas and that the Ministry of the Environment does not wish to amend the existing law.

Tamkivi replied to the article, saying that necessary restrictions can be imposed with the minister’s regulation. Amending the law, on the other hand, would be detrimental to legal certainty and disproportionately slow, because the amendment would have to be handled by the new Parliament after the elections.