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    Translation: The wind farm project is compatible with keeping the “La Chaux-de-Fonds/Le Locle, watchmaking town planning” site on the World Heritage List

    November 15, 2022 -


      MIL OSI Translation. Government of the Republic of France statements from French to English –

      Source: Canton of Neuchatel Switzerland


      ?The UNESCO World Heritage Center has taken a position on the wind farm project of Crêt-Meuron, Éole-de-Ruz and Quatre Bornes and their impact on the World Heritage property "La Chaux- de-Fonds/Le Locle, watchmaking town planning”. These renewable energy projects are considered compatible with the inscription of the Neuchâtel Mountains site at UNESCO. The Council of State is pleased to note that the efforts undertaken to mitigate the impacts of this project on the World Heritage property have been crowned with success.

      The Council of State was recently informed by the Federal Office of Culture of the content of the World Heritage Center's position on the Crêt-Meuron, Éole-de-Ruz and des Quatre Bornes and their impact on the World Heritage property “La Chaux-de-Fonds/Le Locle, watchmaking town planning”. This position was communicated by letter sent on 23 September 2022 by the Director of the World Heritage Centre, Mr Lazare Eloundou Assomo, to the Permanent Delegation of Switzerland to UNESCO. It is accompanied by a technical study by ICOMOS International (the International Council on Monuments and Sites) analyzing the wind farm project, which had previously been revised in recent months by a working group bringing together representatives of the Confederation, of the Canton and the communes concerned in order to reduce its impact on the world heritage site “La Chaux-de-Fonds/Le Locle, watchmaking town planning”.

      The letter from the Director of the World Heritage Center gives a positive appreciation of the work carried out. In summary, ICOMOS welcomes the efforts made to significantly reduce the potential negative visual impacts of the proposed wind farms, but considers that the latter bring the property to the limits in terms of visual modification of the landscape after their construction. In conclusion, ICOMOS considers that no additional wind farm can be built on these sites without threatening the relationship of watchmaking town planning with its pastoral and forest environment.

      In general, UNESCO appreciates the efforts of its Member States in their transition to renewable energies but recommends the implementation of appropriate measures to ensure the protection of the outstanding universal value of the properties. In this regard, a guidance tool for renewable energy projects will be available online before the end of the year.

      The Council of State is pleased to note that the efforts undertaken to mitigate the impacts of this project on the World Heritage property have been crowned with success. It nevertheless takes due note of the limitations imposed by ICOMOS and UNESCO with regard to the possible development of new projects near the World Heritage site “La Chaux-de-Fonds/Le Locle, watchmaking town planning”.

      The steps for the commissioning of the three wind farms concerned can therefore continue according to the cantonal wind power concept accepted in popular vote on May 18, 2014. The Council of State recalls that the five planned wind power projects would cover at least 20 % of the canton's electricity needs, and this mainly during the winter season, which represents the period with the greatest risk of a shortage.


      EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and/or sentence structure not be perfect.

      MIL Translation OSI


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