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Challenges Of Mitigation

Media Release
5 December 2003

Challenges Of Mitigation

Mitigation for people who have been identified as Directly Affected Parties is one of the most challenging aspects of Project Aqua but Meridian Energy is totally committed to getting it right.

Broadly speaking, mitigation means to lessen or reduce the adverse effects of a particular activity.

Project Aqua is a proposed hydro-electric scheme that would run along the south side of the lower Waitaki Valley. It would generate enough low-cost, renewable electricity to power the equivalent of about 375,000 households in an average year and about 250,000 households in a very dry year. A very dry year is a 1-in-20 year event.

“Developing mitigation agreements is one of the most challenging aspects of Project Aqua because construction nuisance effects, such as dust and noise, would affect each person and business in a different way,” says Alan Seay, spokesperson for Meridian Energy.

“We have put considerable time and effort into developing the agreements which are tailored for each party.”

Many of these agreements include a range of mitigation measures to be implemented from double-glazing, to air-conditioning and temporary relocation to the monitoring of vibration effects.

In addition, solatium payments – a form of financial recognition for the temporary inconvenience, loss of enjoyment and the short-term impact on the marketability of a property asset – would be offered. The payments would be paid directly to the affected party during the course of construction and would vary according to how close the property is located to the construction zone.

“Meridian wants the mitigation to be fair and reasonable, so we are advising people to get professional advice before signing their proposed agreements,” says Alan Seay.

“Because there is still a way to go in the process, the agreements being offered have to be flexible to allow for new information such as a change in personal circumstances; the release of new investigations or the effects are worse than first anticipated.”

Meridian Energy is asking those residents and businesses who sign a mitigation agreement not to object to the effects of Project Aqua on their property for which the mitigation has been agreed. The company is NOT asking them not to object to any other aspect of Project Aqua.

“Mitigation is one of the most emotional aspects of Project Aqua as it involves people whose lives would be affected by Project Aqua. It is important to Meridian that we meet the challenge of mitigation and “get it right”,” says Alan Seay.

ENDS

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