A ruling by Italy's highest administrative court, the Consiglio di Stato, is expected to mean good news for a 20 MW wind farm operating in Tuscany. The court ruled that, for the most part, the regional government had followed correct procedures in permitting the Poggi Alti plant, which has been operational for over a year. It also agreed with the regional government that there had been no need for a full-scale environmental assessment before authorising the plant. The Consiglio di Stato instead contested the method by which the impact of the plant on local bird life was assessed, saying that the impact should have been analysed before the turbines were installed and not afterwards. Studies conducted after the plant was constructed showed that there was no impact on the bird population. A lower court had instead ruled largely in favour of Italian environmental association Italia Nostra and local wine maker Jacopo Biondi Santi, who have contested the plant and argued that an environmental assessment should have been required. In light of the latest court ruling, Anna Rita Bramerini, the regional politician responsible for environmental issues, says that a new authorisation will now be issued for the plant. While the region's lawyers are studying the ruling, the local government believes that in a worst case scenario the plant could be temporarily shut down as the authorisation is renewed. When it was inaugurated, the plant was controlled by Endesa Italia but was recently taken over by German utility E.ON, which acquired most of Endesa Italia's assets this summer.
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