Answer to Written Question: Impact of solar farms on biodiversity
(Source: European Parliament)
Answer given by Mr Sinkevičius
on behalf of the European Commission
The Commission is not aware of and not involved in the development of the study mentioned by the Honourable Member but is ready to look at its results when finalised. The Commission has also conducted a technical study on this matter that may be of assistance to national authorities and stakeholders.
In relation to the possible environmental impacts of solar farms projects, the Commission recalls that Member States’ competent authorities need to assess them and ensure that permits for their development are granted in accordance with EU environmental legislation. They have to determine whether solar farms projects need to be subject to an environmental impact assessment because of their likely significant effects on the environment, taking into account the relevant criteria in the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive. Moreover, if solar farm projects are likely to have a significant effect on a Natura 2000 site, an appropriate assessment needs to be undertaken according to Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive. The authorities can only agree to a project if it will not adversely affect the integrity of the site concerned, either alone or in combination with other plans or projects. In addition, solar farm projects also need to comply with the relevant requirements of the Birds and Habitats Directives related to species protection.
 Directive 2011/92/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment, OJ L 26, 28.1.2012, p. 1–21, as amended by Directive 2014/52/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014, OJ L 124, 25.4.2014, p. 1–18.
 Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7–50.
 Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the conservation of wild birds, OJ L 20, 26.1.2010, p. 7–25.