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Spoil disposal would not intrude, says scientist

Spoil-disposal sites on the proposed Project Hayes wind farm on the Lammermoor Range in Central Otago would be small features not impairing the land or intruding on the geomorphic environment of the site, an appeal hearing was told in Cromwell yesterday.

Geomorphology is the specific study of the Earth’s surface, and the processes which form or transform different land surfaces.

It is primarily concerned with landforms, such as tors, land-forming processes, and the associations of many landforms together which comprise a landscape.

Meridian Energy’s fifth witness, environmental scientist Mark Mabin, of Christchurch, said the spoil sites would be shaped so they did not erode. Project Hayes includes 135 spoil disposal sites to take excess material from the turbine platforms and access tracks.

A report, prepared by Dr Mabin on the effects Project Hayes would have on the land in parts of the Lammermoor Range, stated the total footprint of Project Hayes would cover about 2.5% of the land area, and therefore the development’s effect would be less than minor.

That was due to the project’s small footprint within its actual landscape setting on the Lammermoor Range, and its favourable location on the tor-less terrain type, which was the most common within the wider Central Otago landscape. He also said no landforms would be lost or significantly modified by Project Hayes, and earth surface processes and water resources would not be significantly impacted.

Dr Mabin’s evidence concluded Meridian Energy’s argument in relation to the landscape, visual, heritage, and historical aspects of Project Hayes.

By Rosie Manins

Otago Daily Times

27 May 2008