Wind Energy and Adverse Visual-Impact Litigation: A Balance of Global and Local Interests?

In: Climate Law

Wind energy is one of the world’s fastest growing forms of energy. It has many advantages over traditional forms of energy. However, visual impact is a disadvantage. Although planning applications for wind-farm developments are on the rise worldwide, the visual impact of potential developments repeatedly provokes opposition to new wind-farm projects. Litigation aimed at enjoining the construction of wind-energy facilities can slow wind-energy development and increase its cost. This article takes a comparative approach to such visual-impact litigation, looking at cases from Australia, New Zealand, and England in order to understand why planning cases are much more likely to succeed in some jurisdictions than others. I argue that in some jurisdictions decision-makers and courts are impliedly prioritizing the global, national, and local interests in favour of wind-farm development over the national and local interests in favour of landscape and visual-amenity protection.

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    Planning and Environment Act 1987, No. 45 of 1987 (Victoria).

  • 16

    Planning and Environment Act 1987, s 96E.

  • 26

    Planning and Environment Act 1987, section 97B.

  • 53

    Resource Management Act 1991, 1991 No. 69 (New Zealand).

  • 61

    Resource Management Act 1991, subsections 6(a) and (b).

  • 63

    Resource Management Act 1991, sections 120, 121 and 148V.

  • 70

    Resource Management Act 1991, section 104D.

  • 79

    Resource Management Act 1991, section 6(b).

  • 81

    Resource Management Act 1991, s 6(b).

  • 92

    Resource Management Act 1991, section 7(j).

  • 96

    Town and Country Planning Act 1990, 1990 c. 8 (United Kingdom).

  • 98

    Planning Act 2008, sections 14 and 15.

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