The government published on Tuesday and sent for approval a draft law to alleviate the so-called 10H rule, prohibiting the placement of wind turbines near buildings and forms of nature protection. The minimum distance is to be 500 m, but under a number of conditions.
According to the draft of the Ministry of Development, in the so-called distance act, the 10H principle will be maintained, but the Local Spatial Development Plan (Local Development Plan) will be able to define a different distance from the residential building, taking into account the range of the wind farm’s impact, but also maintaining an absolute minimum distance of 500 meters.
Additionally, a new wind farm will be able to be located only on the basis of the Local Plan. However, the obligation to prepare a plan will apply to the area of the forecasted impact of the turbine. The forecast of impacts will be obligatorily agreed with the Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection. The 10H principle is also abolished in relation to forms of nature protection.
In the event that a wind turbine already exists, municipalities will be able to permit the construction of residential buildings in its vicinity, provided that the minimum distance of 500 m or more resulting from the protection zones adopted in the local development plan is met. So they will not have to keep the distance calculated according to the 10H rule.
Municipalities wishing to make their approach to building turbines onshore more flexible will be required to organize additional public consultations.
The draft also includes new regulations regarding technical activities, such as inspections of wind turbines. Only technical services certified by the Office of Technical Inspection will be able to do them. A special register of such entities will be created, kept by UDT.
In the Regulatory Impact Assessment, it is estimated that the change in regulation will lead to the construction of 6-10 GW of new onshore wind capacity and, as a result, will lead to, for example, a reduction in energy prices or the fulfillment of Poland’s obligations, including as part of the EU’s climate policy.
The provisions of the act on investments in wind farms, the so-called Windmill Act, entered into force in July 2016. According to it, windmills can be placed at not less than 10 times their height from the houses. In practice, it is 1.5-2 km. The same distance is to be kept when building new windmills at the borders of, among others national parks, reserves, landscape parks, Natura 2000 areas.
The then Minister of Energy, Krzysztof Tchórzewski, explained in 2018 that the adoption of the law resulted from public opposition to such investments, and it was also supposed to be the implementation of the election promises of the Law and Justice party.
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