New Zealand

New Zealand

Project shelved after worries about effect on horses

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New Zealand electricity utility Genesis Energy's plans for a wind farm at the Awhitu Peninsula, south of Auckland, look likely to be shelved after the project was rejected by commissioners operating under the country's tough Resource Management Act (RMA). After an arduous two year process, which cost around $NZ2 million, the final outcome saw the proposed wind farm of 19, 90-metre turbines rejected on the grounds of visual pollution, as well as the possible negative impact on a nearby equestrian centre and concerns expressed by the native Maori people. Under the provisions of the RMA, locals were able to claim that the turbines would spoil the views on the peninsula, adversely affecting tourism in the area, and construction work would interfere with Maori archaeological sites. It was argued that any sudden blade movements and flickering shadows could startle horses at nearby breeding and training facilities. The decision has been described as "bizarre" by the New Zealand Environmental Society, which says it supports the development and will support Genesis should it appeal the decision. Genesis already has a 15 turbine farm at Hau Nui near Palmerston North, and was looking at a possible three sites at Awhitu.

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