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Group plans appeal against $2bn wind farm

A lobby group opposed to the construction of a $2 billion Otago wind farm is seeking to take its case to the Court of Appeal.

Save Central last week filed leave to appeal on behalf of the Maniototo Environmental Society, Upland Landscape Protection Society, John and Sue Douglas, of Alexandra, and Ewan Carr, The Southland Times reported.

In August, Meridian Energy successfully appealed an Environment Court decision which rejected the Project Hayes wind farm.

It objected to the court’s decision that the project should demonstrate how it was economically better than any other potential generation scheme and consider alternative sites.

High Court Justices Lester Chisholm and John Fogarty referred the case back to the Environment Court and called on it to reconsider its decision.

The proposed wind farm on the Lammermoor Range, about 70km north-west of Dunedin, would be the largest wind farm in the southern hemisphere with 176 turbines.

An Environment Court hearing is set down for November 15, however, if the notice of appeal is granted, the hearing could be put on hold pending the Court of Appeal’s decision.

Save Central co-ordinator Graye Shattky said the group filed the notices to protect its options.

A Meridian Energy spokeswoman yesterday said she was unable to comment while the case was before the courts.

Consents for the project were originally granted by Central Otago and Otago Regional Councils in 2007.