Limits set for wind turbines

18:51, Oct 09 2012

Porirua wind farms will have to build turbines at least 700 metres from its neighbours, the Environment Court has ruled.

It comes after Mighty River Power and New Zealand Wind Energy Association appealed to the court over Porirua City Council's proposed district plan change for management of commercial-scale wind farm proposals.

Plan Change 7 included specific clauses to manage concerns such as noise and visual amenity from wind farms. One of those required wind turbines to be at least 700 metres from a zone boundary or the boundary of a site that was not part of the wind farm.

District Plan Review Subcommittee chairman Tim Sheppard was pleased the court upheld the council's plan change, bar a couple of amendments, taking them a step closer to actioning it.

"This is huge milestone for the council and the first plan change of its type in New Zealand for managing commercial-scale wind farms in the rural area.

"The council believes we have got a good balance between recognising the benefits of developing renewable energy resources and managing any potential adverse effects to those in the immediate vicinity and further afield."

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But he would wait to see whether it was accepted or if another appeal was made.

Wind Energy Association chief executive Eric Pyle said the company was still working through the implications of the decision, but it was the distance turbines would have to be from boundaries that it had appealed against.

The distance from property boundary to the wind turbine was very different to the distance from house to wind turbine, he said.

Mighty River Power could not be contacted.

The Dominion Post