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Meridian challenged on wind farm replanting

Meridian Energy would have to revegetate the equivalent of 360 rugby fields of land after it constructed a wind farm in Central Otago.

The final day of submissions in Alexandra yesterday discussed Meridian Energy’s plan to build a Lammermoor range wind farm.

Hearings panel chairman John Matthews questioned the Otago Regional Council yesterday on how staff proposed to monitor the wind farm work, given its huge scale, with concerns about enforcement being “problematic” .

Meridian plans to shift about 1.8 million cubic metres of soil over a 92 square km area and then replant the area when work was finished.

However, the hearing panel members closely questioned Otago Regional Council senior resource officer Peter Christophers about the work Meridian would have to undertake.

“We’ve got 360 football fields of revegetation work with evidence it won’t work … so what is the plan B?” Mr Matthews asked Mr Christophers.

Mr Christophers replied that given construction of the wind farm would take around five years the revegetation of the land would not be done all at once.

Mr Matthews was concerned there would be nobody on site other than Meridian staff to ensure the job was done properly.

“We’re not going to have complaints from the public up there are we, if they breach their consent?” he queried.

Mr Matthews asked the Otago Regional Council representative to report to the hearing today and confirm how the job would be audited.

The wind farm hearing concludes tomorrow after five weeks, with Meridian’s right of reply following the planners’ reports from the Central Otago District Council.

The Southland Times

energycentral.com

30 August 2007