Lammermoors wind farm still in limbo

The Lammermoor Range, site of proposed Project Hayes wind farm. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
The Lammermoor Range, site of proposed Project Hayes wind farm. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
The $2 billion Project Hayes wind farm is still in limbo, tied up in legal proceedings, almost five years after Meridian Energy first sought resource consent for the project.

No date had been set for the next round of court hearings, the parties involved said this week.

Resource consents for the 176-turbine venture on the Lammermoor Range - the largest proposed wind-farm development in the southern hemisphere - were granted by the Central Otago District Council and Otago Regional Council in 2007.

The decision was appealed to the Environment Court and, after the hearing in 2008-09, the court decided the adverse effects on the landscape outweighed its potential economic benefits. The court cancelled the consents.

Meridian and the two councils appealed that decision to the High Court, which upheld the appeal after a hearing last year. The case was sent back to the Environment Court for reconsideration, the court having been directed to hear more evidence on alternative locations for the wind farm in Central Otago.

A further Environment Court hearing was delayed in November, pending a decision on whether the matter would proceed to a higher court, as several parties in the case had sought leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal.



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