The prefect initially gave a refusal in each case without further explanation. Subsequently, the prefecture issued a press release stating that the decisions were made in accordance with the regulations in force and the departement's own planning document. Quoting the environment minister, Dominique Voynet, the statement noted that the development of wind power must be "carried out in an organised manner, not intensively, in order to avoid damaging the countryside, the heritage and the quality of life of local residents." It also noted that preference should be given to large-scale installations built in zones previously identified, referring to the renewable energy plan each region is now required to produce. In reply, Planete Eolienne, a federation of pro-wind associations, argued that "to refuse wind power in such an arbitrary way and without cause, ignoring years of debate within the community, involves political choices with little concern for the environment." The organisation added: "Where is the consultation and transparency of government services when 10 out of 12 projects are rejected without argument?" Of those rejected, the biggest is the 90 MW Pays Belmontaise project, owned by German developer RWE. The other rejected applications belong to French developers Ventura (40.1 MW), Enerpole (22.5 MW), La Compagnie du Vent (12 MW), Matiere (11.5 MW) and Enel Erelis (2 MW), Portugal's EDP Renovaveis (14 MW) and Spanish turbine manufacturer Gamesa (12 MW). The remaining 9 MW also belongs to RWE. The prefect granted siting permits for 54.3 MW, while a decision on a further 19.5 MW is pending.
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Technical Director/Principal Consultants, Landscape Architecture – Manchester, UK SLR Consulting Ltd Manchester, Greater Manchester