14 Aug 2012

Transpower knocked back on pylon buffer zones

4:18 pm on 14 August 2012

Bay of Plenty farmers may have won an early round in their efforts to keep power pylon buffer zones out of district plans.

But the battle is not over yet, with national grid operator Transpower appealing a decision by the Western Bay of Plenty district council.

Transpower wants buffer zones for high voltage transmission lines incorporated into district plans so there are controls on building or other development work within those corridors.

That's been knocked back in the Western Bay of Plenty, where the council has accepted the recommendation of a commissioner that there's no need to change the district plan, as rules for buffer zones are already covered in the national electricity code of practice.

Bay of Plenty Federated Farmers president, John Scrimgeour says that's in line with what farmers have been arguing.

"Landowners generally are pretty pleased with the outcome of this hearing"

Bay of Plenty District Council has agreed that including buffer zones in district plans would be unnecessary duplication.

But it will amend planning maps to show transmission corridor buffers covered under the electricity code of practice.

However, that doesn't satisfy Transpower, which is taking an appeal to the Environment Court.

It says the decision fails to give effect to the National Policy Statement on Electricity Transmission, which it says is Parliament's direction on how the Resource Management Act should be applied in those cases.

Chief executive Patrick Strange says its ability to maintain the grid is put at risk if district plans don't include rules on what development can occur under its lines.