Draft consent for gully route
and After decades of waiting, resource consent has been granted for Transmission Gully in a draft decision from the Board of Inquiry.
Its report and decision granted approvals despite noting ‘‘adverse impacts’’ from the planned billiondollar road of national significance.
‘‘Although there are a number of adverse effects we do not consider that the scale of those effects outweighs the benefits which we have identified,’’ it said.
Approval will ‘‘ promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources.’’
‘‘Transmission Gully has avoided adverse effects on the environment to the greatest extent possible and where avoidance is not possible proposes remedial or mitigatory measures which in some instances constitute environmental gains.’’
The report admits there will be an impact on people near the route in what are currently ‘‘ quiet rural areas’’, but the New Zealand Transport Agency had tried to mitigate this as much as possible.
‘‘Ultimately, we accept that there will be adverse amenity effects on some people if Transmission Gully proceeds.’’
The Environmental Protection Authority approval covers applications for the construction, operation and maintenance of the proposed 27 kilometre inland alternative to State Highway 1.
It also approved Transpower rerouting of lines and towers along the route.
The draft decision approved the work, saying areas or sites potentially sensitive to the proposed line relocation have ‘‘ generally been avoided’’ through Transpower’s route-selection process.
‘‘Transpower’s evidence was that remaining effects are limited to the effects of construction and landscape effects all of which may be appropriately mitigated through proposed conditions of consent.’’
The two- volume draft report, including conditions for the approval, is now opened up for comments from applicants, submitters and other affected people and groups, but only on ‘‘minor or technical aspects’’.
After the comments have been considered by the board, it must provide its final report no later than June 18.
The decision comes as part of a fast-tracked consent process set up by the Government.