SEOUL, Nov. 27 (Korea Bizwire) – A South Korean court has put the brakes on the controversial development of solar energy facilities in mountainous areas, over concerns about environmental damage.
On Tuesday, the Cheongju District Court ruled against the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed by two solar power companies against Eumseong County, North Chungcheong Province, for “unauthorized disposition of applications for permission for development activities.”
In July of last year, the two companies applied to the county office for permission for development activities, saying they would conduct solar power projects in two forest areas within their jurisdiction.
However, the county planning committee rejected the plan, saying that it would be difficult to maintain the project site with a gradient between 20 percent and 50 percent in case of heavy rain or heavy snow.
The reason is that fire trucks would have a difficult time gaining access in the event of an electric room fire and that fire can spread to forest areas.
In protest, the two companies filed an administrative suit in North Chungcheong Province after the case was rejected.
The two companies said in court that they had established specific measures to reduce problems such as soil leakage and appealed to the public interest to encourage the development of solar power, an eco-friendly power generation project.
However, the court said it was unclear whether the measures proposed by the plaintiffs could prevent disasters effectively and that environmental damage could not be easily recovered if not implemented as planned.
Meanwhile, in September, the Supreme Court dismissed the plaintiff’s appeal in a similar suit filed by a solar power company against Yeongdong County, and upheld the original verdict.
“As the recent disturbance of solar power facilities has caused various side effects and has caused social problems, the court is also acknowledging the discretion of local governments that put public interest first as much as possible,” a legal source said.
D. M. Park (email@example.com)