Reason for ruling ignored, say respondents

Meridian Energy had ignored the fact the Environment Court decision on Project Hayes was about the protection of a nationally important landscape from an inappropriate development, the appeal hearing was told yesterday.

Counsel for most of the respondents, including the Maniototo Environmental Society and the Upland Landscape Protection Society, Justin Smith, said Meridian's appeal was based on "peripheral" issues.

He said Meridian's submission to the appeal hearing, in the Dunedin High Court this week, did not recognise the Environment Court's finding that the national economic benefits of the wind farm were outweighed by the adverse impact of the project on the outstanding natural landscape of the Lammermoors.

Meridian could have presented alternative wind farm sites for consideration, but did not do so.

"They said 'Trust me, this is the best'," Mr Smith said.

The Environment Court was seeking some comparison to see whether there were enough benefits in the Lammermoor Range site to justify imposing the adverse effects on the landscape, but Meridian did not provide any detailed comparison with other sites.

The energy company had failed to recognise the site was an outstanding landscape, he said.

The respondents continue their submissions today.


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