Articles filed under Impact on Landscape from Australia / New Zealand
The New Zealand Historic Places Trust has withdrawn its opposition to a huge Otago wind farm, saying it lacks the funding to fight every battle. ...Trust chief executive Bruce Chapman said the manner in which the trust prepared and presented its submission was an internal matter, and not one for review through the media. He said the trust's limited resources meant it must focus on particular heritage places. "This requires careful prioritisation, and an understanding that we may not meet every expectation," he said. Ministry for Culture and Heritage spokeswoman Shona Geary said it did not direct the trust to negotiate with Meridian.
Trustpower will site more than 80% of the turbines for the Mahinerangi wind farm on exotic pasture land, and has called a rival power company's proposed condition ‘‘nonsense''. At the Environment Court yesterday, the focus returned to the land after a week's hearing on transmission issues, with the appeal against the wind farm by the Upland Landscape Protection Society resuming. Ecologist Dr Ruth Bartlett said only four wind turbines would be planted on land covered with snow tussock. If the wind farm was to have 100 turbines, 83 of the turbines would be on exotic grasslands which had been highly modified.
Ancient trees that could be up to 4000 years old should be protected from a wind farm development in South Australia, the Australian Democrats say. State Democrat MP Sandra Kanck said the eucalyptus globulus biocostata trees at Mt Bryan should be heritage-listed. She said the Hallet 3 cluster of 32 wind farm turbines planned for the Mt Bryan area, north of Adelaide, would be only 20 metres from what could be the oldest trees in the state. The Forestry Co-operative Research Centre has already dated the trees at about 4000 years old.
Of the country's 9900 megawatt capacity, the capacity of installed turbines, including small installations at Gebbies Pass and Southbridge, is 321.8MW. ...With Government encouragement, wind's role is growing. Projects being built in Manawatu and Wellington will add 188MW. A further five consented wind farms could add 312MW. Applications are being considered for nine more projects which will lift the total by 1700MW. ...One of the Upland Landscape Protection Society's most prominent members, Central Otago artist Grahame Sydney, says the possibility the landscape will not be appreciated in the same way by later generations is upsetting and depressing. "The pervasive cloud of threat that hangs over this landscape that I love so much, that so many of us love and think is important ... is very real and it's awfully troubling," he says.
Residents of the open, rolling hills of Kaiwera yesterday argued that the visual impact of the huge turbines proposed for the Kaiwera Downs wind farm would be like having Manhattan at their back door. Collectively and individually residents of the area strenuously voiced their opposition to TrustPower's proposed 83-turbine wind farm within a 2568ha site in their district. ...Wind farms should be built closer to the more populated main centres and heavy industry, such as the windy hills of Canterbury. "There is no doubt in our mind there is a selective morality, when it comes to where wind farms are placed, by the powers that be," Mr McFadzien said. The group and individuals made submissions highlighting the project's adverse effects on their lifestyles and livelihoods caused by noise, dust, traffic and, most importantly, the visual pollution of turbines.
A wind farm being built in South Australia is threatening endangered animals and one of the nation's oldest trees, nearby residents say. SA Democrat Sandra Kanck, and some residents of Hallett, have asked Federal Environment Minister Peter Garret to stop part of AGL Energy's proposed wind farm around the mid-north town. ..."The Hallet 3 cluster of 32 turbines planned for the Mt Bryan area is only 20 metres from possibly the oldest tree in South Australia," Ms Kanck said. "The eucalyptus bicostata is a form of blue-gum that is unique to SA. "The wind farm also threatens vulnerable, endangered and rare plants and animals including the silver daisy, pygmy blue-tongued lizards and wedge tailed eagles.
Several large wind farms of more than 100 turbines each could be built in Western Victoria in the next few years. Information from the Department of Primary Industries shows that the largest wind farm, 183 turbines at Macarthur has already been approved alone with a 128-turbine farm at Waubra and 116 turbines at Mount Gellibrand.
It will soon be easier for rural property buyers to find out if a wind farm is planned for next door. The Victorian Government this week agreed to let buyers know where they can get information on current wind farm proposals. Until now, prospective buyers were in the dark over how to get the information. ...The move followed calls by Nationals MP Peter Hall for more transparency on wind-farm proposals. Mr. Hall said property buyers had little hope of finding information about new wind farms, dozens of which are proposed for Victoria.
"We're stunned that Mainpower is even considering this site as they claim to be environmentally responsible and there are alternatives nearby," said Dr Murray Parsons, chairman of the board, which represents the community interest in the work of the Department of Conservation. "The Mount Cass ridge where Mainpower wants to build ... is covered in dense bush extending down gullies on either side, and is a unique limestone landscape with its own special ecosystem." ...Mainpower was proposing to bulldoze a 10m wide access road, up to and along the mountain ridge, and to construct concrete footprints of up to 240sq m to support the construction of wind generators up to 80m in height.
... to my bewilderment, then subsequently dismay and disillusionment, I have been angered by the way we continue to squander our environmental inheritance. One of the priceless things that makes Central Otago unique and so captivating and gives it the world of difference that the brand-assigners and the Central Otago District Council use to proudly advertise and promote the area is that most of its hills and block mountain ranges aren't badly polluted visually. It gives them an extraordinary and memorable aura, one that's often grand. But is building what would so far be, in the case of Meridian's Project Hayes, the biggest wind farm/factory in the Southern Hemisphere, thus opening the door to still more of them, the world of difference we want? Is that what the district council has, or had, in mind? Is that what thinking people want? Meridian's Project Hayes and TrustPower's Mahinerangi Wind Farm proposals between them covering more than 120sq km of countryside - would have a major rather than a minor detrimental effect in all respects. ...Our oft-warbled claims to be ahead of the game and clean and green are no more than self-congratulatory chitter. Sort out what you think our legacy ought to be, people, and stand up for it before it's too late.
After a suggestion by Environment Court Judge Jon Jackson in Alexandra yesterday, the Central Otago District Council will call expert witnesses to explain the effect noise may have on residents living near the proposed Project Hayes wind farm. He did so after learning from the CODC's counsel that no expert witnesses would be called to give evidence on other than landscape and visual effects, and planning. Judge Jackson and three commissioners will hear appeals on the council hearings panel's decision to recommend the wind farm, subject to conditions. At a conference of the participants and representatives yesterday, he heard there will be between 78 and 81 witnesses, and the case will begin on May 19. Parts may be heard in Cromwell or Queenstown.
Victorian Nationals Energy spokesman Peter Hall has called on the Government to acknowledge that windfarms devalue properties surrounding the land on which they are sited, and to review planning guidelines to reflect the drop in value. Mr Hall said that irrefutable proof of property devaluation was contained in conditions attached to a recent planning permit issued by South Gippsland Shire Council. The condition, attached to a permit to subdivide land adjoining the proposed Bald Hills wind energy facility, requires future land owners to be advised that "residents on the lots may experience detrimental amenity affects arising from the facility such as noise, blade glint and blade flicker." ..."The Government's renewable energy policies should be targeted at those renewables that have less negative environmental impacts such as solar, geothermal and bio-fuels," Mr Hall concluded.
South Gippsland Shire is demanding that landowners wanting to subdivide tell likely buyers of the "detrimental" effect of the Bald Hills Wind Farm. Some landowners believe the requirement opens the door for them to seek compensation for lowered land values. ...Councilor David Lewis said the ruling was designed to avoid legal battles. "People buying into this area can't say they didn't know," Cr Lewis said. "The intention is to protect ratepayers from legal confrontations with large companies over noise issues." Cr Lewis has since spoken to residents who "raised good issues" and conceded the condition may have created more headaches than it solved. A valuer told Mr. Fairbrother in 2004 that the wind farm devalued his property by more than $350,000.
The public response follows a pattern of general acceptance of a wind farm being developed in an area, and even tolerance of a second one nearby. "But when subsequent wind farms are proposed in the same geographic area, public support is often replaced by strident opposition," Wellington landscape architect Boyden Evans told the Ngaruawahia hearing. In the case of Wel Network's Te Uku proposal, it is following on the heels of Ventus' 22-turbine Taumatatotara project and the 42-turbine Taharoa C project (subject to Environment Court appeal) slightly to the south. ..."It is not surprising that landscape and especially visual issues are at the forefront on the siting of wind farms because people typically describe their feelings and experiences about places in terms of landscape, and, in particular, in terms of what they see." ..."Experience elsewhere in the country shows that opposition groups are becoming increasingly well networked and feed off each other's information."
A wind farm planned for above the Pauatahanui Inlet in Porirua might be seen from as far away as Island Bay and Waikanae. A document leaked to The Dominion Post shows that the 130-metre high turbines would be visible from areas of Wellington City, the Hutt Valley, beyond Upper Hutt and as far north as Waikanae. Prepared by environmental planners Boffa Miskell, the theoretical visibility plans show that as many as 40 of the up to 50 three-megawatt turbines may be visible from some areas. ..."There is a slow growing awareness that this wind farm is going to be something big," she said.
PROJECT Hayes panel chairman John Matthews has released a 12-page statement explaining his reasons for voting against the Lammermoor wind farm proposal. ...He was chiefly concerned with landscape values, the appropriateness of the development and the setting of precedent, including his statement within yesterday's decision released by the panel. ‘‘If a proposal of this significance is found to be appropriate in an area of Outstanding Natural Landscape, it is difficult to see how any consent authority could fail to apply the ‘‘like for like'' principle on a future occasion,'' Mr Matthews said.
Presumably the reserve generating capacity will be set lower to encourage more renewable generation but we shall see; political safety was the Government's priority at that time and there is no reason to believe it would be braver now. Sustainable energy and secure energy are "not mutually exclusive goals", the Prime Minister maintains. But the fact is oil- and gas-fired stations are the country's security against low hydro levels and it's hard to see that any weather-dependent power plant could pick up the slack in a dry season.
Twenty-five people fired their concerns at TrustPower major projects manager Deion Campbell and environmental officer Ryan Piddington about a project they said has divided the community. TrustPower hopes to build the $500 million wind farm on nine properties in the hills behind Mataura. ... The land owners' biggest concern is the impact the wind farm will have on their property prices. TrustPower had "handsomely" compensated those people whose land would be used for the turbines while neighbours had been left in the cold. The consequences for them were only negative with pristine views spoiled and fears that noise from the turbines would cause a drop in property values.
Contact Energy could face opposition to its proposed route for power pylons connecting the country's largest wind farm to the national grid. The company wants to put up to 218 wind turbines along a 40km stretch of coast between Raglan and Port Waikato. ...The plan has received support from farmers and local iwi, but the path of the pylons is more contentious. Franklin District councillor, Lionel Petterson, says the community is concerned about the environmental impact of another row of pylons in the area.
... although the Government encouraged wind energy developments to reduce green house gas emissions sensitive areas would be protected. "A special set of planning guidelines for wind energy developments has been introduced to ensure wind farms do not impact negatively on the environment,'' he said. "They exclude wind energy developments from Wilsons Promontory, the Grampians, the Great Ocean Road and other environmentally sensitive areas.''