What happens when a wind farm is taken down or decommissioned?
At the end of their lives, wind turbines can be decommissioned and replaced with newer designs - the technology will no doubt improve a lot over 25 years. But if they are not to be replaced, then the way that a planning authority wishes to have a wind farm decommissioned should be covered by clauses in its planning permission.

These clauses typically require all above-ground visible traces of the wind farm to be removed. This takes care of the turbines. Service tracks, if there are any, could be removed, although it may be best to leave them. Obviously each case is different, depending upon the size and geography of the development. Developers will then comply with these clauses.

The concrete bases could be removed, but it may be better to leave them under the ground, as this causes less disturbance. If so, they would be covered with peat, stone or other indigenous material, and the site returned as closely as practicable to its original state.

Compared to the problems associated with decommissioning a gas or coal-fired plant, which leave a legaciy of toxic waste, tailings and unsightly buildings, decommissioning a wind farm is straightforward and easy.

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