One of the most important regulatory measures of wind turbine siting are setback distances since they may prove an effective measure to mitigate visual impacts, noise pollution, and reduce concerns about safety and protected areas .
As far as visual impacts and noise pollution is concerned, setback distances can be established in the planning phase, during the permitting/authorization process, and may be part of the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA, 2011/92/EU).
Wind turbine setbacks from inhabited or protected areas are quite a controversial issue, which is also to be dealt with from the planning phase, according to national, regional, or local regulations. The WinWind project analysed regulations and/or recommendations in Germany, Italy, Latvia, Poland, and Spain and found that they vary considerably either as far as their binding force is concerned (prescriptive /discretionary) either for the territorial level of the (national/regional /local ) competent authority.
Timely, accurate, and transparent communication about setback distances, as established in the wind farm project, and about their implementation is recommended, and will prove a crucial tool for creating trust between market actors and the community.
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The WinWind project analysed the environmental regulations of the partners’ countries. Here below further readings.
On regulation frameworks in the six countries partner (technical aspects)
Screening of Technical and Non-Technical regulations, guidelines and recommendations pages 6-29