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Greater protection sought from transmission lines



14 August, 2007

Greater protection sought from transmission lines policy

Auckland City Council has called for greater environmental protection from electricity transmission lines in a submission to the Ministry for the Environment on Transpower’s proposed upgrading of parts of the national grid.

The submission from the Works and Services committee says the council is generally supportive of the proposed national policy statement on electricity transmission, but offered amendments to protect the council’s interests.

In particular, it called for greater emphasis on the environmental, social, cultural and ecological effects of transmission as well as the economic benefits that have been Transpower’s main focus.

The proposed national policy statement was publicly notified on 16 May and a board of inquiry hearing of submissions is set down for 27 August.

Among the amendments offered by the council in its submission by its utility relationships manager, Des Hughes, are:

• all new transmission lines across the Auckland isthmus should be located underground

• greater consideration be given to the long-term effects of electric and magnetic fields (EMF) associated with transmission lines when more scientific evidence is available.

Committee chairperson, Councillor Neil Abel, said the council recognised the importance of secure, reliable and safe power supply to the city, the region and nationally, but was concerned at potential adverse effects of the transmission network.

“We welcome the intention of a national policy statement to provide national direction on the sustainable management of the electricity network but urge that environmental amenity is not lost in the economic argument,” he said.

As an example, the council cites Transpower’s designation for existing transmission lines from Pakuranga to the Gavin Street sub-station in Penrose. It traverses Panmure Basin and important archaeological and geological features.

The transmission network also affects important volcanic view-shafts.


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