Opponents of a controversial wind farm planned near Wellington are going back to court, claiming new evidence could limit the hours the project is allowed to run.
Makara Guardians have asked both the High Court and the Environment Court to consider hearing submissions about the noise expected to come from Meridian Energy’s West Wind project near Makara.
But Meridian spokesman Alan Seay said the court action would not derail the project, set to begin next week with road-widening work.
“It has no effect on the consents we hold, and we are proceeding as normal.”
Makara Guardians lawyer Graham Taylor said the group was not appealing against the project in full, but wanted to bring new evidence before the court about conditions relating to wind noise.
He said it related to contradictory evidence given by an expert witness, who had recently said the Motorimu Wind Farm in Manawatu was unworkable, despite supporting West Wind – a similar project.
Mr Taylor said they had also uncovered new evidence from overseas about the distance noise from wind farms could travel.
“The evidence seems to be firming up that the noise remains noticeable up to two kilometres away.”
If that evidence was upheld, it could limit the hours the wind turbines could operate, he said.
Mr Seay would not speculate on what effects successful court action might have on the project.
Makara Guardians have also filed an appeal in the High Court, based on the new evidence.
A High Court ruling yesterday adjourned the Guardians’ appeal, pending the Environment Court decision on a rehearing.
The $430 million West Wind project was given the green light by the Environment Court in May.
The court decision took out four of the 70 turbines originally planned, and Meridian itself dropped a further four because the sites were too turbulent and could have worn out the machines quickly.
The project has faced strong opposition from people living near the planned site, who are concerned about the size and noise of the turbines, some less than 1km from houses.
By Paul Easton
The Dominion Post
31 August 2007
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