Lack of side benefits cited

Matthew Pope, of Gore, races his boat, The Vatican, on Lake Dunstan last November. The Project...
Matthew Pope, of Gore, races his boat, The Vatican, on Lake Dunstan last November. The Project Hayes hearing was told yesterday hydro-electricity lakes provided more benefits than wind farms. Photo by Rosie Manins.
The public benefits created by the development of hydro-electric power plants are not provided by wind farms, an Environment Court appeal hearing for Meridian Energy's proposed $2 billion Project Hayes wind farm has been told.

Appellant Ewan Carr made the suggestion during cross-examination of Meridian's eighth witness in the resumed hearing, Christchurch landscape architect Peter Rough.

Mr Carr asked Mr Rough yesterday whether the development of wind farms generated spin-off benefits for the public, in terms of recreational use, as hydro development did.

He cited Contact Energy's Clyde dam as an example of electricity generation which resulted in the recreationally popular Lake Dunstan, where people swam, fished, and competed in water sports and activities.

"Has the Clyde dam had some corresponding benefits that, to a degree, offset the loss of what was a rugged river, orchard environment, and parts of an old town?

"There are no such benefits from a wind farm . . . A wind farm doesn't bring anything else, it just takes away does it not?" Mr Carr said.

Mr Rough accepted there were public benefits from certain hydro-electric projects, which came at a cost.

"You could say the Logan Burn Reservoir, for example, is a visual amenity feature, but that has come at a cost in terms of flooding what was the largest alpine swamp or bog in the country.

"So it's not without its ecological and environmental issues," Mr Rough said.

Mr Carr said wind farms were described by some as "predators of the landscape". .

Judge Jon Jackson said such a metaphor was not helpful to the hearing.

 

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