Flemish artist Wim Delvoye has won a case to have the building permit withdrawn for three new wind turbines along the E40 motorway at Melle and Wetteren in East Flanders. Delvoye took his case to the Council of State, which adjudicates on all matters relating to government decisions. The permit for the turbine in Wetteren was granted by the province of East Flanders, while the one for two turbines in Melle was granted by the Flemish environment minister Joke Schauvliege.
The turbines would have been visible from Delvoye’s chateau in Melle. However his argument was based on the claim that neither authority had carried out a valid environmental impact study. The area is important for migrating birds, and also has an important bat population.
Originally, the artist – famous creations such as trucks and bulldozers made out of steel rods and a Wedgwood-patterned cement mixer – had appealed to Schauvliege against the province’s permit, claiming the turbine would cause noise nuisance, shadow over his property and a danger to safety. The minister rejected the appeal, arguing the companies had taken adequate precautions to reduce nuisance to an acceptable level.
The Council of State’s ruling now overturns not only that decision, but the two permits she issued on her own behalf.