Renewable energy developers in three key European markets increasingly expect a legal fight to the death with opponents who systematically challenge wind farm permits to the extremes of the process whatever the merits of the project, a new survey claims.

Some industry players in France, Germany and Spain told researchers they now routinely expect challenges and appeals from litigants whose aim is “preventing the construction of a wind farm under all circumstances”, despite any efforts to address community and environmental concerns during the planning process.