Wind farms

A United Nations (UN) legal tribunal has ruled that the UK Government acted illegally by denying the public decision-making powers over their approval on wind farms.

The United Nations Economic Commission Europe (UNECE) stated that the government had acted in breach of Article 7 of the Aarhus Convention, reported The Independent.

The UNECE committee has also recommended the government to take appropriate steps for public participation in future plans and programmes similar in nature to the National Renewable Energy Action Plan.

The decision is likely to affect the future wind farms planned in the country.

Environmental lawyer David Hart, QC, was quoted by the publication as saying: "This ruling means that consents and permissions for further wind-farm developments in Scotland and the UK are liable to challenge on the grounds that the necessary policy preliminaries have not been complied with, and that, in effect, the public has been denied the chance to consider and contribute to the NREAP."

"The UNECE stated that the government had acted in breach of Article 7 of the Aarhus Convention."

An Argyll community councillor, Christine Metcalfe, filed the complaint with the UN that the UK and European Union (EU) breached the Aarhus Convention, under which the public must be given reliable and transparent information on environmental matters, and sufficient participation in decision-making.

On behalf of the Avich and Kilchrenan Community Council, Metcalfe filed the complaint at the committee hearing in Geneva in December 2012.

A UK Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesperson said, "We are aware of this decision and we are considering our response.

"Wind is an important part of our energy mix, providing clean home-grown power to millions of homes. Developers of both offshore and onshore wind farms do consult with communities and provide generous benefits packages."

Image: The ruling is expected to impact future wind farms in UK. Photo: courtesy of