Country 'predominant' despite turbines

Peter Rough
Peter Rough
Central Otago's vast landscape would retain its rural character despite the construction of a 176-turbine wind farm on the Lammermoor Range, an Environment Court appeal hearing was told yesterday.

Meridian Energy's second witness, landscape architect Peter Rough, of Christchurch, said although Project Hayes turbines would be visible from parts of Central Otago, the plains and mountain ranges of the area would continue to dominate the landscape.

Mr Rough said other wind farms constructed overseas comprised dense clusters of turbines and had changed the nature of landscapes to those of an industrial character.

"I am not seeing an industrial landscape when I look at computer images of the proposed [Project Hayes] wind farm.

The rural character is still the predominant character of that landscape," he said.

Project Hayes would be the largest wind farm in the southern hemisphere and one of the five biggest in the world.

It comprised 92sq km of Central Otago freehold farming land 15km west of Middlemarch.

When questioned by appellant lawyer Neville Marquet, of Dunedin, Mr Rough said the Lammermoor Range was not an outstanding landscape, in contrast to the adjoining Te Papanui Conservation Park and Rock and Pillar Range properties.

Mr Rough's evidence was the only evidence heard in yesterday's hearing.

The last two weeks of the appeal hearing over the wind farm, starting August 18, will be held in Dunedin.

Judge Jon Jackson said the change was appropriate because the city was closer to the site "as the crow flies".

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