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Solar consent heading to Environment Court

A request to have a resource consent application for a solar farm in Greytown referred to the Environment Court has been granted.

The application to develop a 235-hectare solar farm along SH2, Bidwills Cutting and Moroa Rds was publicly notified in May this year by South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC].

Yesterday SWDC notified interested parties yesterday that the application will be determined by the Environment Court, following a request for referral from the applicant, Far North Solar Farm Ltd.

In a letter dated June 9, a spokesperson for Far North cited reasons for requesting the application be processed by the Environment Court.

“The submitters are well informed and in some cases are recognised experts in the matters relevant to Council’s consideration under s104 of the RMA,” the spokesperson said.

“Elected Local Board members in some submissions have been confirmed by the Applicant.

“Against this background, the application process would benefit from the comprehensive range of case management tools available to the Court.”

The spokesperson also said that due to the strength of community opinion, it was likely that “this application would inevitably be appealed to the Environment Court if heard by Council in the first instance”.

In the decision, a spokesperson for SWDC said it agreed with the reasons set out by Far North Solar Farm Ltd.

The spokesperson noted that SWDC considered criteria such as public interest and likelihood of appeals, complexity of the proposal, impact on parties, cost considerations, and a streamlined decision.

“The submissions received during the public notification period raised a range of concerns relating to the proposal,” the spokesperson said.

“This is expected given that this application is the first received for a solar farm in Wairarapa, the nature and scale of this proposal is relatively large and introduces a new type of land use in Wairarapa into its rural environment.”

The spokesperson said that Wairarapa’s Operative District Plan was prepared over 17 years ago, at a time when solar farms were a distant possibility of an unknown scale and nature.

“They have been the subject of debate in the past due to the significance of the Rural Zone to the Wairarapa community.”

The spokesperson said it is important to note that submitters have the right to continue their participation in the application process as they would in any council process.

“Court support is available throughout the Court proceedings to help submitters and affected parties understand the process.”

1 COMMENT

  1. We have dams, coal power generation and gas. Why do we need solar power and wind turbines. 😫 sorry forgot the environmentalists and greens run the energy system in New Zealand.

Comments are closed.

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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