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Petitioners seek more energy project scrutiny

A group that wants a closer eye kept on renewable energy projects pitched for the region have launched a petition, the Greytown Community Board heard this week.

There are two large-scale solar developments proposed for Greytown, one of which has lodged a consent application with South Wairarapa District Council that will be processed through the Environment Court next year.

The Greytown Community Board met on Wednesday night and heard from the South Wairarapa Whenua Action Group [SWWAG], represented by local resident Elizabeth Creevey, who was supported by several other SWWAG members.

Creevey said the petition calls for “mitigation and regulation of the negative impacts of utility-scale solar power generation proposed throughout Wairarapa”.

“We believe all applications of renewable power projects should be fully notified,” Creevey said.

“Many directly affected landowners and wider community residents have approached us with concerns regarding location and scale, loss of productive land, amenity and character, impact on tourism, loss of land value and desirability, impact on soil, water and fire risk and end of life disposal – just to name just a few.”

Creevey noted there are seven developments – including solar and wind – that are being planned for Wairarapa.

“As predicted, the number of projects is snowballing.”

Creevey said SWAAG wants regulations included in the Wairarapa District Plan “to ensure Wairarapa continues to be a desirable destination to visit and reside in”.

She said it is “unfortunate” that one consent application for a solar development in Greytown is being processed through the Environment Court in Wellington.

“It’s such a burden, quite frankly, dealing with going to court that half of the submitters have decided not to speak, even though they initially said they would in submissions, because it is a huge extra step,” Creevey told the board.

The petition is only being run in paper form at this stage.

The board agreed to ask the Greytown library to hold the petition for those interested in signing, although it was noted that, as a council service, the library has to ensure it maintains a neutral stance on the issue.

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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