An Environment Court appeal hearing for Meridian Energy’s proposed $1.5 billion Project Hayes wind farm in Central Otago will resume at Cromwell today.
Judge Jon Jackson, commissioners Alex Sutherland and Heather McConachy, and deputy commissioner Ken Fletcher will hear arguments relating to the construction logistics and effects of the 176-turbine development proposed for the Lammermoor Range.
In May, the first two weeks of the six-week hearing centred on landscape and visual impacts of the wind farm.
The next two weeks of hearings, held at the Golden Gate Lodge conference facility, are scheduled to adjourn on August 8, before the final two weeks of hearings take place at Dunedin in late August.
Two of the original appellant parties have withdrawn their appeals against the granting of resource consent for what would be the largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere.
The New Zealand Historic Places Trust announced the withdrawal of its appeal on May 6, two weeks before Project Hayes appeal hearings began on May 19.
Following the loss of an appeal against the Mahinerangi wind farm proposal, Contact Energy withdrew its appeal against Project Hayes on June 25.
Active appellant parties which remain include the Upland Landscape Protection Society, Goldfields Historic Trust, Maniototo Environmental Society, the Central Otago Recreational Users Forum, as well as farmers Eric and Cate Laurenson and Ian and Sarah Manson, and individuals John, Sue, and Andrew Douglas, and Gaelle dit-Piquard.
The Government has tagged Project Hayes as a development of national significance and will oppose nine of the appellant groups through its Ministry for the Environment.
A Central Otago District Council planning committee granted consent for Project Hayes in October last year.
By Rosie Manins
28 July 2008
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