An application for an easement on a South Island pastoral lease for the purposes of establishing a solar array has been granted.
The application for the proposed solar array, on the Balmoral Tekapo pastoral lease in the Mackenzie Basin, was received in late 2021 and assessed in accordance with the Land Act 1948 (which allows for the creation of easements), and the pre-reform Crown Pastoral Land Act 1998.
The proposed development also awaits the outcome of separate council consent applications and cannot proceed with easement consent alone.
This is the first application considered by Toitū Te Whenua for an easement to establish a solar array on a Crown pastoral lease. In assessing the application, Toitū Te Whenua consulted with the Department of Conservation and considered specialist landscape and environmental advice provided as part of the application to understand potential impacts on the site’s inherent values.
As part of the easement consent, conditions have been put in place that will protect and mitigate against potential impacts to the inherent values of the land concerned. These include protecting wetland areas from development, maintaining existing sheep grazing activity, and protecting and monitoring vegetation.
The lessee is also required to ensure the terms of the pastoral lease continue to be met in the array area including pest and weed control.
Mackenzie District Council and Environment Canterbury have not yet issued a decision in relation to resource consent applications they have received. The applications are being jointly heard by independent commissioners appointed by each organisation under the provisions of the Resource Management Act 1991.
Further information relating to the Toitū Te Whenua easement decision - Easement decision for Balmoral Tekapo - Establish and operate a solar array for the generation and distribution of electricity - A5558709.