The decision-making process has begun on the Motorimu wind farm proposal, but the hearing has not yet been declared closed.
Motorimu Wind Farm Ltd has applied for consent to place 127 wind turbines in the Tararua foothills on the border of Horowhenua and Palmerston North.
While the public is excluded from this part of proceedings, chairwoman Dinah Williams has given an update on their progress.
“We still haven’t closed the hearing. We sought further clarification from the noise experts.”
That information has been received and is being reviewed.
During public debate, applicants, submitters and councils all provided experts on the possible noise effects. Their recommendations varied.
The current New Zealand standard for wind farm noise was called into question and the commissioners accepted it may be overdue for review.
Ms Williams said noise was “one of the most important issues” raised and if a consent was granted it would have “the most fair and sensible conditions”.
She said the process took longer now than a few years ago as it has become more complex but was a “much more robust system.” “I understand people’s frustration, but it is a good process and it needs to be done thoroughly and carefully and I refuse to be rushed by anyone. It is too important.”
Another reason for delays is the absence of commissioner Richard Heerdegen. As the hearing was delayed from December 2006 to February 2007, then March, it has caused some timetable clashes.
Mr Heerdegen is due back in Palmerston North next week.
By Nick Wilson
19 April 2007