The Bulgarian Government has approved the enforcement of limitations on the construction of solar panels and wind turbine parks on agricultural land, a Government media statement announced on April 7 2010.
The amendment to the bill for the protection of agricultural land will be submitted to Parliament. The amendment envisages curtailing construction of renewable energy infrastructure in arable lands and irrigation fields in order to conserve the lands for farming purposes.
The exploitation of lands from first, through to fourth category, and the subsequent construction of renewable energy infrastructure on these plots, will be centrally controlled from now on, and not at a local or municipal level, as is the current case.
The law also envisages that "any decision taken by the commission would be invalidated, if during the course of a year upon its (decision) implementation for any given parcel of land, no change of application for that parcel was requested".
Disagreements between farmers and wind park investors over changes to the proposed Agriculture Ministry amendment have raged interminably.
The problem revolves around the rich farmlands of northeastern Bulgaria, the region known as Dobruzha, where a number of wind parks have been constructed in recent years and more are planned.
The proposal was backed by farmers in the Dobruzha region who want an end to the erection of wind parks or solar panel parks on the rich soil of the northeast.
According to Radoslav Hristov, head of the wheat producers in Bulgaria, if the Government does not act now to prevent more parks sprouting up in the region, "there will be no agricultural land left for cultivation and agriculture".
Investors in renewable energy sources, on the other hand, agreed that arable land should be preserved for the agricultural sector, but were "categorically against the ban being implemented if it addressed the issue of wind parks exclusively".
The Confederation of Employers and Industrialists in Bulgaria, and other associated companies in the industry, responded that the "proposed new amendments to the agricultural bill are discriminatory against the industry".