Makara Guardians Inc advises today that it will not appeal the decision of the Environment Court to allow Project West Wind to proceed
The Environment Court issued its decision within a few days of the Minister for the Environment calling in the Chief Environment Court judge to explain the Court’s delay.
While the decision calls the West Wind proposal ‘repugnant’ and found that nearby residents will be significantly and adversely affected, even if conditions are complied with, the Environment Court approved the development as ‘appropriate’.
Despite having identified reasonable grounds for appeal, MG has determined that, even if successful, the outcome would be unlikely to materially reduce the number of turbines that would dominate the community. The prospect of significant additional cost in these circumstances was not considered to be justifiable. Makara Guardians Inc. has raised over $170,000 to support the campaign so far, and reports it has no outstanding debts.
The Environment Court did refuse consent for four turbines and Meridian Energy moved three others following a request from the Court, to sites well away from residents.
However, this leaves 6 homes within 1 km of turbines and around 135 homes within 2 km of turbines; most turbines will be built as closely as possible to homes while the vast unpopulated area on Terawhiti Station is generally free from turbines; not many people realise this, or the fact that significant adverse effects will result for the local community.
The size and number of turbines and their visual and noise impact remain key concerns; and Makara Guardians Inc has resolved to direct its future efforts to ensuring that the conditions imposed by the Court are complied with to the letter, should Meridian Energy proceed.
Makara Guardians Inc has received enormous support from the Makara community, the people of New Zealand and throughout the world and wishes to express its gratitude for that support.
The site at Makara cannot be the best wind power site internationally; it is subject to significant turbulence, and turbines are so close to residents that the Environment Court has warned Meridian Energy that turbines will have to be shut down to comply with conditions.
The electrical energy capable of being generated is now estimated as only about half Meridian’s original figures, about 1% of NZ’s annual consumption; and will do little to meet growth in demand and nothing positive for grid stability. Meridian’s claims of economic marginality should be considered in this context, as well as its gross overestimates on potential GHG savings.
The development will not make Wellington self sufficient in power, the power will go into the grid. Wellington gains nothing from this development but it will lose the only opportunity the capital city has for a scenic and stunning regional park on this land.
The Environment Court found that the landscape is outstanding, that it is nationally important and that it is a scarce resource district wide; Wellington’s best coast.
It was not surprising therefore, that the Court also found that the development will have significant and adverse effects on this unique rural/coastal landscape.
In view of the proposal now being uneconomic (Meridian Energy said it could not build the development unless it secured all 70 sites, and it appears that all turbines are of lesser power rating, for technical reasons), many consider that a better use for this land, which is government owned, would be as a scenic regional park for the capital city, which has no such park. The government could now support such a park for the enjoyment of the public, in perpetuity.
Meridian Energy as a State Owned Enterprise has a social duty to local communities; it can avoid causing significant adverse effects by building wind power developments in the many other places that are windy, but unpopulated, in New Zealand. The whole of New Zealand has ‘world class’ wind.
Press Release: Makara Guardians
7 June 2007
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