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“The Sch... things have no place in the forest”: Emotional wind farm discussions during Aiwanger’s visit

2024-02-26T20:33:06.009Z

Highlights: “The Sch... things have no place in the forest’: Emotional wind farm discussions during Aiwanger’s visit. “We're still putting the problem in our pockets - but never our grandchildren!" Another citizen warned urgently during a town hall meeting in Marktl. The Gegenwind initiative has now started collecting signatures for referendums in other communities, and a council petition is being prepared. The state government is sticking to the mega wind farm in the Altöttinger Forest.



As of: February 26, 2024, 6:23 p.m

By: Felix Herz

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The planned construction of Bavaria's largest wind farm is encountering resistance.

Citizens are demanding more voice and consideration for their concerns.

Altötting – The debate about Bavaria's largest planned wind farm in the Altötting district on Monday, February 26th was characterized by strong emotions and controversial opinions.

On the one hand there was a clear rejection of wind turbines, on the other hand the responsibility for future generations was emphasized.

“The bastards have no place in the forest,” exclaimed a resident.

“Guys, remember: we have children and grandchildren!

We're still putting the problem in our pockets - but never our grandchildren!" Another citizen warned urgently during a town hall meeting in Marktl.

Economics Minister Hubert Aiwanger traveled to the Altötting district on Monday to address the citizens' concerns and fears.

Controversial discussion about the wind farm in Altötting – strong accusations against Söder and Aiwanger

The Mehringer people's rejection of the Free State's largest wind farm project in the Altöttinger Forest caused considerable unrest and political controversy.

Both the Free Voters leader Aiwanger and Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) had to endure significant criticism, including from the opposition.

The long-standing negative attitude towards wind power and the feeling that people were not sufficiently involved were the main points of criticism.

The Gegenwind initiative has now started collecting signatures for referendums in other communities, and a council petition is being prepared in Marktl.

Both politicians and those responsible at the Bavarian State Forests and the German-French company Qair, which is entrusted with the project, are now trying to persuade people in advance.

Aiwanger also sees the Mehringer's negative vote as an opportunity to have a more intensive conversation.

Bavaria's Economics Minister Hubert Aiwanger (Free Voters) visited the site of the planned wind farm in Altötting for discussions with local citizens.

© picture alliance/dpa |

Armin Weigel

However, the state government is sticking to the mega wind farm in the Altöttinger Forest.

“Whether he comes with 41 or 39 wind turbines can be discussed, but he has to come,” emphasized Söder in Munich, while his deputy campaigned for approval in the region.

(By the way: Our Bavaria newsletter informs you about all the important stories from the Free State. Sign up here.)

Aiwanger advocates for wind turbines in the forest - but no solutions seem to be in sight

Aiwanger showed understanding for people's concerns about noise and shadows and the fact that they did not want the wind turbines to be 1,000 meters away from their homes.

“Nevertheless, we still have the need to build wind turbines in Bavaria, and also in the region,” emphasized Aiwanger.

“I don’t assume that we won’t get any wind turbines in the region.”

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Aiwanger argued that the wind turbines would be less disruptive in the forest than in the open field - you would only see them when you get closer.

And when the wind blows, you wouldn't hear the sound of the systems because the forest is rustling.

Some residents would be willing to compromise if the facilities were built further away.

But there doesn't seem to be a solution in sight here.

After discussions with affected families in Mehring, Aiwanger suggested possibly maintaining a distance of 1,500 meters.

However, according to resident Rainer Piechotka, the families are demanding a distance of 2,000 meters.

However, Heike von der Heyden, managing director of the Qair company, made it clear: Then “there would be nothing left” - i.e. no wind turbine would be built.

She couldn't spontaneously say how many wind turbines would be possible at a distance of 1,500 meters.

The region's local politicians appeal above all for people to take part in the search for solutions.

The regions are obliged by the onshore wind law to provide areas.

If the wind turbines were built in private forests - and not in the Bavarian State Forests as planned here - only the legal requirements would have to be adhered to.

Some of these even provide for shorter distances than 1000 meters.

Is the wind farm even worth it?

Residents versus businesses

Critics of the systems complain that the area is the least windy in all of Bavaria.

It makes no sense to build wind turbines where there is no wind, said a resident.

You could also build a pineapple farm in the region - after all, the only thing needed is the heat.

However, the Qair company has no doubts that the wind is sufficient, and Aiwanger is also unconcerned about this.

After all, the investors didn't think of the wind turbines as "toys that just stick up in the sky for nothing."

The argument of the lack of wind was one of the main arguments of the Gegenwind Altötting initiative, which initiated the citizens' initiative in Mehring.

Shortly before Aiwanger's visit, three members resigned because of the increasing influence of AfD supporters in the initiative.

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The editor Felix Herz wrote this article and then used an AI language model for optimization at his own discretion.

All information has been carefully checked. 

Find out more about our AI principles here.

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2024-02-26

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