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Council & Transpower overstep mark with buffer zone proposal

20 February 2012

Council and Transpower overstep mark with buffer zone proposal

Federated Farmers is opposing the Western Bay of Plenty District Council’s moves to create buffer zones of up to 32 metres either side of electricity transmission lines.

“Federated Farmers strongly opposes the creation of these Electricity Transmission Buffer Zones, because they are solely designed to protect transmission line companies’ interests and circumnavigate individual easement agreements with landowners,” Federated Farmers Bay of Plenty provincial president John Scrimgeour says.

“Transpower says it wants these buffer zones to ensure safety and supply continuity. However, Federated Farmers feels the width of the zones is excessive, as is the level of proposed regulation around them.

“We believe the resulting raft of new rules for earthworks, buildings and subdivision within those zones would hamper landowners’ ability to farm, without meeting Transpower’s original goals.

“Transpower seems to be trying to restrict landowners’ activities through the District Plan, to avoid having to negotiate easement agreements with individual land owners. This is an attempt to exploit a RMA loophole which says no compensation needs to be paid when land owners are affected by rules in a District Plan.

“What this will mean for Western Bay of Plenty farmers is more costly consent processes if they wish to construct basic farm infrastructure such as deer fences and water tanks within the Transmission Buffer Zone. “Likewise, the subdivision rule would also capture subdivision of a farm into two farms, although the house sites may be many kilometres away from the line itself.

“The Council must recognise that much of the land under and alongside transmission lines is productive rural land. Using the land to transmit electricity should not limit landowners’ ability to also use it for primary production,” Mr Scrimgeour concluded.


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