Porirua City Council has been forced to approve an independent panel for Mill Creek wind farm hearings because it has already leased the land to developer Meridian Energy. Council staff made the admission in a report to the council’s hearings and appointments subcommittee on a planned road running through Spicer Landfill to the wind farm. Resource consents manager Adrian Ramage recommended outside commissioners because the hearing would take up a lot of councillor time. “In addition Porirua City Council has already entered into a lease agreement with Meridian Energy for the proposed access so could be seen to have a conflict of interest that would warrant independent consideration of the application.” Porirua was drawn into the wind farm consent because Meridian plans to use Spicer land as an access road for construction. The council leased the land to Meridian, which now needs council consent to be used. Most of the proposed 31-turbine wind farm falls in Wellington City Council turf, which along with Greater Wellington Regional Council and Porirua makes up the joint consenting authorities. The wind farm is set for private farmland in Ohariu Valley. Header – How much juice from Mill Creek? Consistent wind speeds mean Mill Creek wind farm would generate enough renewable electricity to power the equivalent of 35,000 average homes.