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Parliamentary questions
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8 August 2018
Answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-003351/2018

Pieria Mountain is included in the Natura 2000 network by virtue of the Habitats Directive(1). In accordance with the requirements of Article 6 of the directive, if the wind farm in question is likely to significantly affect that area, it has to be subject to an appropriate assessment in view of the conservation objectives of the area and can be authorised only if it does not adversely affect its integrity. That assessment needs to address the potential direct and indirect impacts from all aspects of the project, including its access roads, as well as the cumulative impacts with other projects in the area. Public participation requirements also apply to the appropriate assessment procedure under Article 6 of the Habitats Directive in line with the case law of the EU Court of Justice(2).

Furthermore, the project could fall under the scope of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive(3), which also transposes public participation requirements of the Aarhus Convention into EC law. Article 6 of the EIA Directive sets out the information and participation rights of the public and its Article 11 ensures that the decision of the authorities can be reviewed by a national court. It is for the national authorities to determine whether the EIA Directive applies in this case.

It is the responsibility of the competent Greek authorities to ensure that wind farm projects comply fully with the aforementioned provisions. The Commission has issued relevant guidance(4) and encourages Greek authorities to promote good practice, for example through dedicated seminars. Furthermore, the Commission has launched an infringement procedure against Greece for failure to comply with applicable EU legislation as regards wind farm planning and permitting across the country.

(1)Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora.
(2)Case C-243/15.
(3)Directive 2011/92/EU on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment, as amended by Directive 2014/52/E; OJ L 124, 25.4 2014, p. 1.

Last updated: 8 August 2018Legal notice