Farm buildings seen as risk to power supply

HANNAH MCLEOD
Last updated 06:36 08/04/2014
transpower
ROBYN EDIE/FAIRFAX NZ
PUTTING THEIR CASE: Transpower representatives, Stephen McAdams and Dougall Campbell, speak to the Southland District Council’s resource management committee at a submissions hearing for the proposed district plan yesterday.

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The Southland District Council should ban milking sheds and other intensive farm buildings beneath powerlines that supply the national grid, Transpower says.

Transpower representatives spoke to the Southland District Council's resource management committee at a hearing on the natural features and landscapes and rural zone sections of the proposed district plan yesterday.

Kensington Swan solicitor Nicky McIndoe said Transpower owned and maintained six national grid lines in Southland, most of which were on rural land.

Transpower environmental policy and planning group manager Dougall Campbell and senior transmission lines engineer Stephen McAdams said the buildings needed to be built at least 12 metres from the lines to ensure there was room for maintenance, and also to avoid damage to stock or buildings in the event of a fault.

McAdams said any building under the grid lines could make maintenance difficult for staff with vehicles, earthworks, or crane equipment.

Any large farming buildings could present "unnecessary and additional risk to Transpower's ability to keep the lights on," he said.

Meanwhile, the committee was told on Friday the council would be "double dipping" if proposed rules for additional financial contributions from the forestry industry were approved.

Katie Robinson, speaking on behalf of three large forestry companies that operate in the district, called for more communication between forestry operators and the council instead of proposed rules for additional financial contributions in the plan.

These would require resource consents for harvesting from forestry blocks, and additional financial contributions to the council to cover costs of road maintenance and repairs.

But forestry block owners already contributed to roading through a targeted rate, and any additional contributions and the costs of resource consents would be unfair, Robinson said.

She proposed a new rule which required forestry companies to tell the council about plans for harvesting ahead of time.

"This will allow council to plan ahead for any repairs and road maintenance in these areas . . . and set the targeted rate accordingly."

The last hearing on the natural features and landscapes and rural zone sections of the proposed plan is today.

Hearings continue on Monday May 5, with the first hearing on the biodiversity and Fiordland/Rakiura zone sections of the proposed plan, to be held at the Southland District Council office in Invercargill.

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- The Southland Times

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