As the parliamentary elections in October 2015 draw closer, the debate about the construction of new wind farms has increased. The main opposition party, PiS (Law and Justice), has proposed introducing:

"a moratorium relating to the construction of wind farms, excluding the construction of micro-installations and small installations, until regulations are adopted detailing the terms and conditions for the construction of wind farms and the establishment of supervisory and control institutions responsible for the safety of human beings and the environment."

The moratorium would be effective from the moment that the measure was adopted.

The likelihood of a moratorium being introduced before the elections is slim. However, PiS could find itself in a strong position in Parliament after the elections and as a result the possibility of legal intervention regarding the construction of new wind farms cannot be excluded.

The grounds cited for introducing the moratorium are based on a report produced by the Supreme Auditing Board in July 2014. According to the report, decisions on the location of wind farms do not take into account opposition on the part of the local community, which is largely disregarded. Despite a number of protests, the authorities have allowed several wind farm investments to go ahead. Notwithstanding their ability to conduct public ballots in this respect, the authorities have not conducted many.

The Supreme Auditing Board has recommended revisions to certain construction and zoning regulations. One of the main recommendations is the development of a uniform methodology for quantifying noise generated by wind farms. Further, the location of wind farms within environmentally protected areas and the technical supervision of wind farms should also be addressed. In June 2015 the Council of Ministers approved a parliamentary proposal for an act which would require the location of any wind farm with a capacity exceeding 40 kilowatts to be determined pursuant to a local zoning plan (for further information please see "New rules for renewable energy source locations and wind turbine commission"). Wind farms can be located pursuant to individual zoning decisions, which prescribe the terms and conditions for a wind farm. Such decisions are issued by city mayors. Local zoning plans are adopted by the councils of respective municipalities. If adopted, the requirement that a local zoning plan be passed would add certain complexities to the construction of new wind farms.

Adam Kozlowski

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