Tracks linking turbines scattered around the proposed Project Hayes wind farm on the Lammermoor Range would create visual scars additional to those created by 150km of access roading to the site, an Environment Court appeal hearing in Cromwell heard yesterday.
Meridian Energy’s second witness, landscape architect Peter Rough, of Christchurch, said the tracks, which would enable concrete and turbine material to be transported to various parts of the 92sq km site during construction of the wind farm, would have a minor additional visual effect.
Upland Landscape Protection Society representative Ewan Carr, of Dansey Pass, argued the tracks would have a significant impact on the landscape, as in order for large quantities of industrial material to be transported around the site, so called ‘‘fit-forpurpose tracks’’ would end up being substantial roads.
There would be a mass of additional roads, as well as box-cutting for roads and windfarm structures such as turbine platforms, than what is shown by the Truescape computer images of the proposed wind farm. What the court was looking at was not a full representation of the wind farm, Mr Carr said.
Christchurch firm Truescape generated all computer simulations and still images of what Project Hayes would look like once constructed.
Mr Rough said tussocks and re-generation of land by Meridian Energy would hide much of the construction scars once the wind farm was completed, and that was why they did not show on the Truescape images.
He also said many of the roads would not be visible from public access roads, where many of the Truescape simulation view points were based.
The wind farm would comprise 150km of roading, 100km of which will follow existing tracks, and 50km of which will be constructed.
Mr Carr said rock scarring would also be prominent throughout the site where boxcuts up to 12m deep and 220m long had to be made in which concrete would be poured for turbine platforms.
-Red warning lights on the 160m-high turbines would not be visible from below.
Mr Rough told the hearing the lights would have shields.
When asked about the visibility of the turbine lights in the dark, Mr Rough said the lights had never been used in New Zealand, and it was difficult to predict the subtleties of their impact on the landscape.
By Rosie Manins
23 May 2008
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