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UN ruling: EU must reassess renewables policy

Pat Swords points me to this press release from the European Platform Against Windfarms.

The Compliance Committee of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), which enforces the Aarhus Convention, has released its final findings and recommendations regarding the case presented by Mr. Pat Swords, a chemical engineer from Ireland (1). In a nutshell, the UN is saying that if the EU wants to be in compliance with the said Convention, to which it is a party, it must have its 27 Member States properly reassess their National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAP), and submit them to popular consultation. The Aarhus Convention requires that, in matters affecting the environment, the citizens be consulted in a transparent manner before any policy is embarked upon. The Convention applies principles adopted at the 1992 Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro.

Pat also makes some comments of his own:
Essentially there has been a complete failure to comply with the principle of 'environmental considerations in decision making'. Clearly there are issues related to democratic accountability, which would be the focus of UNECE. However, by having by-passed the environmental considerations in decision making, there was no knowledge before the programme was initiated of the emissions savings to be achieved, no knowledge currently to date of the emissions savings from the huge number of wind farms installed (100,000 MW in the EU-27) and what will be achieved by expanding the programme even further.
It has to be remembered that the financing method for this programme is by preferential access to the grid and preferential tariffs. This is State Aid, which is justified by environmental protection. Except what is that environmental protection? The programme (Renewable Energy Strategy and NREAP) was adopted without consideration of environmental issues, while the Strategic Environmental Assessment, which was completed after its adoption was extremely enlightening:
  • UK Energy Policy Environmental Report AoS EN-1 Section 3.3.1 on Climate Change: "The contributions to climate change objectives whilst potentially positive are consequently also uncertain, given the range of economic and technological factors that may influence the successful implementation of low carbon energy sources".
Simply put, one cannot distort the market economy on nonsense such as this. If one looks at the Guidelines for State Aid for Environmental Protection it is clear in Section 1.3.5 on the Proportionality of the Aid, while there are repeated references to clear, transparent, non-discriminatory criteria.

So while the Aarhus ruling demonstrates the breach of law in relation to public participation, there is a bigger picture, in that the whole State Aid funding process is equally flawed from a legal perspective. This is an important point to realise: the two, i.e. (a) public participation and (b) State Aid for environmental protection are inherently linked.
This is a point which very few are aware of to date. The cost, both financial and environmental of this appalling programme are simply unacceptable.

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Reader Comments (20)

The question is: how can we best take advantage of this? A first step must be to ensure that as many as possible are made aware of this dvelopment.

Aug 27, 2012 at 9:27 PM | Registered Commentermatthu

The unaccountable EU, or the unconscionable PM, will veto it.

Aug 27, 2012 at 9:33 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Isnt this a bit like a review being conducted of one MP's conflicts of interests being reviewed by another MP who is himself up to his knees in sh1t?


Aug 27, 2012 at 9:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Anyone currently fighting planning application should present this before their local council immediately for consideration, let the politicians do the leg work to determine the validity of the decision.

I do hope that Guido and Chris Booker are paying attention, congratulations Pat I hope this gets the widest attention.

Aug 27, 2012 at 10:26 PM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

When are we likely to see this on the BBC?
Not in my lifetime, I suspect.

The corrupt and venal freeloaders in Government (and Opposition) will see to that.

Aug 27, 2012 at 10:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

I suppose that the theory that any port in a storm will do applies here but really I would like to be shot of both the UN and the EU in making UK policy. That does beg the question as to whether any party other than UKIP would be any better >.<

Aug 27, 2012 at 11:23 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Lord Beaverbrook my name is Joe Caulfield of I sent a submission written in PatS words to the Donegal County Council they seemed pleased to receive it. I can send you a copy. All you have to do is edit the project name/number and name of person submitting and perhaps name of country referenced. e- mail me for a copy Cheers

Aug 27, 2012 at 11:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Caulfield

Joe - very sorry to hear that the renewable scammers have also been targetting Donegal. I hope you manage to persuade DCC to resist and protect your landscape. It is already too late for many of our hills and moors here in Scotland, but the subsidy junkies and parasitic landowners have plans for at least another 4GW onshore so I will be emailing you for a copy if that is okay. It will be interesting to see what some of the Scottish local authorities make of this judgment - Perth & Kinross have all but given up fighting large scale developments and extensions, as they know they will just be granted permission by the Government's subservient Public Inquiry Reporters, but Fife, and Aberdeen are getting really hacked off with wind applications and may put this ruling to good use. South of the border, Northumberland CC has called for a moritorium recently, and there should be lots of people in mid Wales who will be interested in this also.

Aug 28, 2012 at 12:56 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

good news and bad news?

28 Aug: Bloomberg: Richard Weiss: Siemens Deepens Revamp as Wind-Energy Drought Forces Job Cuts
Siemens intensified a push to lower costs and announced 500 job cuts at the business making mechanical drives, saying that continued slack demand for wind- energy components necessitates a streamlined organization…
The cuts add to thousands of reductions that Siemens has announced so far this year at businesses ranging from medical technology to transformers and lighting. Chief Executive Peter Loescher has cut his profit target once this year and said last month that the lower goal will also be a stretch as demand dwindles from China and Europe grapples with the debt crisis…

Aug 28, 2012 at 1:11 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

Go Go Euroverlords. Tell those jumped up, lace curtain UN tranzis that they don't know shit from shinola about socialist tyranny.

Aug 28, 2012 at 6:00 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Aug 28, 2012 at 12:56 AM | lapogus

What has happened in Perthshire saddens me greatly, I grew up in the Crieff area and it is worse every time I go back. Now instead of Ben Vorlich and Stuc a Chroin it's the Braes of Doune which are the landmarks for nearing journey's end.


Aug 28, 2012 at 7:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS


It is a good idea to have a template for general use. I at present am lucky enough to not require one but it may be an idea for consideration for the good Bishop to provide an area for template letters that could be referred back to as required as I am sure that more people are now getting actively involved in objecting to policy.

Aug 28, 2012 at 8:14 AM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Does his apply to rooftop solar? Was the environmental case made before state aid in the form of feed-in tariffs was given? It occurs to me that the govt having made promises it already regrets might be able to renege on them if the payments were shown to be illegal. Just wondering.

Aug 28, 2012 at 8:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda Klapp

Good point, Rhoda. And they could blame the EU! Are they men or mice, though..?

Aug 28, 2012 at 9:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Well done, Mr Swords. Cometh the hour, cometh the man.

Aug 28, 2012 at 11:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

In late 2001, the MD of the company that had come to own mine told me he was investing in wind energy. Soon afterwards we were closed down. I had been invited to attend a meeting at the HoC at which Science minister Lord Sainsbury [History and Psychology degree]. On arriving, I was waylaid by some FoE people who told me how good the windmills would be. I told them they had been deceived.

The MD created what has become one of the largest UK renewables' corporations. He was connected to businessmen who with the aid of corrupt auditors,accountants and lawyers had looted W. Midlands industry with Transtec, Rover and other scams. They paid for Brown and Balls to get power and were rewarded by preference for property development and renewables. They now own large country estates.

MPs and green groups were deceived about the capability of the technology. Land owners like DC's in laws were willing to get the rent. As with all of NuLaber's spending, it was done by future loading and the corporations owned the state, exactly the same fascism as was created by Mussolini.

Read this;

Aug 28, 2012 at 11:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

I sincerelyh hope Booker and Delingpole are on to this.

Aug 28, 2012 at 12:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

Ten years and more of EU fixation on a lower carbon world, and the trends are now clear - thanks to World Bank data. Between 1999 and 2009, fossil fuel INCREASED its contribution to the EU's primary energy supply from 49 to 52%; renewables increased their share from 11 to 15%; and nuclear/hydro dropped their share from 40 to 33%. Carbon taxes have helped increase the emissions, apparently - although some of this may be swopping coal for gas, with a lower footprint. The important thing is that the tried and trusted low-carbon sources of energy are being squandered for nasty costly unreliable wind and solar.

Aug 28, 2012 at 4:48 PM | Unregistered Commenterthe iceman cometh

The sickly stench of corruption that goes by the name of climate change......

Not being a lawyer - but did the signatories of the Aarhus convention become bound by penalties or jurisdiction if they breached it ? If so is this a UN jurisdiction, an EU one or a home government one?

Without jurisdiction I imagine it would be unenforceable, in which case publicity and pr is the only avenue. If it is enforceable in one jurisdiction or another people ought to look at finding a law firm prepared to act pro-bono or discounted rate, do some fund-raising and get a case against UK govt running.

Aug 28, 2012 at 5:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger

@ Roger

The Convention is a binding part of EU law, implemented by specific Directives (2003/35/EC and 2003/4/EC) and Regulation to the EU Institutions (1367/2006). Therefore there is the option of taking action through the Courts including in relation to damages:

Aug 29, 2012 at 8:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterPat Swords

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