3 Jul 2012

Transpower modifies buffer zone requirements around pylons

6:30 am on 3 July 2012

Some Bay of Plenty farmers are welcoming Transpower's modification to the buffer zones it is seeking around power pylons.

The national grid operator's chief executive Patrick Strange told Federated Farmers' national conference last week it wants 12 metres either side of a pylon to become a buffer zone, requiring landowners to gain resource consent for changes in that area.

It also wants a further 20 metres classified as a permitted area, which means consent would not be required provided electricity regulations were followed.

Transpower has 40,000 structures on about the same number of properties and is applying for the buffer zones by way of proposed changes to district plans.

Federated Farmers Bay of Plenty president John Scrimgeour says the modification is a backdown from a 32 metre exclusion zone the company initially sought.

But a South Canterbury farmer who has been battling Transpower on the issue of compensation for pylons on farmland says the modification does not go far enough.

Jeremy Talbot says the buffer zones represent a land grab by Transpower, and their inclusion in district plans would veto any right landowners had to compensation.

"When these lines went up under the state hydro electricity act it said then in black and white that farmers must be compensated to a level which left them neither better nor worse off. That has never been done."

Mr Talbot says in comparison Telecom pays farmers $5,000 to $8,000 a year for siting cellphone towers on their land.