Aiwanger and the wind turbines in Mehring: How the wind farm can still be saved – Bavaria

It’s about 1,200 meters from where Bavaria’s Economics Minister Hubert Aiwanger gets out of his dark company car. This distance can be seen as the result of a citizens’ meeting in Haiming in the Altötting district, which Aiwanger attended nine days earlier. Aiwanger and representatives of the project developer Qair announced that the turbines of the controversial Altötting wind farm should no longer be just 1,000 meters away from the nearest settlement, but at least 1,200 meters. One or two more wind turbines were therefore dropped from the planning after a referendum in the municipality of Mehring had already decimated the number of turbines from 40 to 30. Proponents of the wind farm primarily blamed a lack of commitment from Aiwanger and the state forests for the outcome of this referendum. Since then they have been working hard on the plans, but at Aiwanger’s most recent appearance the wind turbines had already become fewer and fewer.

Near the small town of Neufahrn in the Munich district, Aiwanger is already being awaited by around 100 curious people who have arrived in three buses from several places around the planned wind farm in the Altöttinger Forest – for example from Marktl, where the European elections are taking place on June 9th similar referendum to that in Mehring, and from Haiming, where another decision is in the air. Here near Neufahrn, four wind turbines have been rotating over the tops of the state forest since 2015 – 1,200 meters away from the meeting point and therefore precisely in the area of ​​the municipality of Berg am Starnberger See, which once placed them on its municipal border despite a lot of resistance . With a height of 207 meters to the top rotor tip, they are almost 80 meters lower than those planned in Altötting.

He is “super happy and proud that things are going so well,” says Berger’s current mayor, Rupert Steigenberger. 30 percent of the systems are owned by Berger citizens, and in purely mathematical terms they even supplied all 8,400 residents of Berg with electricity in the record year of 2023. Aiwanger recently confirmed in Haiming that the communities should be able to participate in the Altötting wind farm with up to 49 percent.

How high will the wind turbine be: The state forests handed out advertising pencils to the guests from Altötting so that they could estimate the height of the wind turbines. (Photo: Matthias Köpf)

The state forests here in Berg want to demonstrate a wind farm “on a living object” to the Altötting residents who have traveled there, as their supervisory board chairman Aiwanger puts it. Compared to the open terrain, the rotors can hardly be seen or heard in the forest, he repeats on this occasion as he walks through the forest towards one of the wind turbines.

There Aiwanger is involved in a conversation by residents of the small hamlet of Schützing, located in the middle of the Altöttinger Forest and part of the municipality of Marktl. In their own opinion, the people of Schützingen would be literally surrounded by wind turbines in the future, and after a short consultation with the mayor of Marktl and the people from the state forests, Aiwanger announced to them that two of these wind turbines should now be removed from the plans.

At the same time, when asked, Aiwanger indicated an end to the so-called municipal clause, i.e. the supervisory board resolution of the state forests, according to which no wind turbines will be built in their forests against the will of the respective municipality. Aiwanger said that they would still adhere to this for the Altötting wind farm, but he could not guarantee that the municipal clause would remain in effect forever. This is the only reason why Mehringer’s no was able to put such a big dent in the plans of the state government, the state forests and their project developer. Private forest owners like the Thurn und Taxis family have to be less considerate in their wind farm plans and, above all, have to adhere to the noise protection rules of the Immission Control Ordinance.

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