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.

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