15 May 2009

Decision reserved over Oamaru cement plant

7:18 pm on 15 May 2009

Appeals against resource consents granted to a proposed $300 million cement plant near Oamaru have concluded at the Environment Court.

In 2008, the Waitaki District and Otago Regional councils approved the development at Weston, near Oamaru, subject to more than 1000 pages of conditions.

The plant would produce 880,000 tonnes of cement a year, occupy an area 1km in length and have a chimney stack more than 100 metres high.

The appeals were brought by Andrew Renalson and the Waiareka Valley Preservation Society over the scale and location of the plant.

Appeals were also brought by two Waitaha groups which claim kaitiakitanga, or guardianship, over the area.

They say the councils and Holcim breached the Local Government and Resource Management Acts by failing to consult them.

The councils and Holcim say the site is appropriate for a cement plant, that it is not an outstanding natural landscape, and the existence of Maori heritage and cultural values does not change that.

Judge Gordon Whiting and two commissioners reserved their decision.