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Department of Conservation lodges submission against Kaimai wind farm

DoC is opposed to a proposed wind farm because it believes bats might collide with turbines.

The Department of Conservation is among a large group of submitters opposing a 24-turbine wind farm on 1304 hectares along the northern end of the Kaimai Ranges.

Last year, Kaimai Wind Farm Ltd made resource consent applications through both Hauraki District Council and Waikato Regional Council to establish the wind farm which would have the biggest turbines in the country.

Hauraki District Council has received 220 submissions in regards to the wind farm, 157 opposed and 57 in support.

Council planning and environmental services manager Peter Thom said DOC’s submission concerned the potential effects of the wind farm on threatened indigenous species and other biodiversity.

One of those species is the threatened long-tailed bat, which DOC’s submission says may be at risk of colliding with the turbines, or losing feeding and breeding habitat through the wind farm.

DOC argues the company’s plan to lessen these impacts is inadequate.

Thom said many other submitters opposing the wind farm were concerned about the visual impact of the turbines on the landscape, as well as potential noise.

Those submitting in support of the wind farm thought it was a viable alternative to fossil fuels, he said.

Thom said there will be a series of pre-hearing meetings in April to address issues raised by submitters. They will have a chance to withdraw part or all of their submission at that stage.

A later hearing is scheduled for mid year, where submitters get a chance to present their views verbally to independent commissioners who will make a final decision on the proposal.