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German court annuls permit for newest coal plant


26 Aug 2021 13:19


26 Aug 2021 13:19

(Montel) A German court upheld a challenge to the planning permit of the country’s newest coal plant on Thursday, reinforcing the prospect of an early closure of Datteln 4 after just one year of operation. 

The challenge was brought against the city of Datteln by private parties, the neighbouring city of Waltrop and Bund, the German chapter of environmental group Friends of the Earth. 
They argued a second permit for the power plant, issued in 2014, continued to violate state planning laws after the administrative court in Muenster voided an original permit in 2009.  

Accusations centred on the site’s ongoing inappropriate proximity to residential areas as well as contested estimates of the plant’s pollution levels and their likely impact on the surrounding region. 

The court ruled the choice of location for the power plant did not meet relevant legal requirements.

The defendants can appeal to a federal court.

Uniper’s Datteln 4 is likely to be the last coal plant Germany builds. It began operating in May 2020. Litigation delayed its launch by around nine years.

A coal exit commission recommended in 2019 against granting Datteln 4 permission to start, though the federal government waved it through as part of last year’s law to exit coal by 2038.

Uniper has flagged a willingness to close the plant early in return for compensation if Germany were to bring forward its coal phaseout to 2030. Some have suggested this will be necessary to comply with requirements under the Paris agreement goal to limit global warming to 1.5C.

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