The decision to refuse an application to create a special landfill zone in the Dome Valley has been greeted as “fantastic news” by those fighting Waste Management NZ’s (WM) plans to build a new regional dump.
Although the panel of commissioners appointed by Auckland Council voted to grant WM resource consent to develop a new landfill in June, the same panel has now refused a separate plan change application that could have made it easier to allow future applications for landfill on the same land.
In a lengthy 37-page decision document, the commissioners said a new landfill precinct and WM’s provisions for it were not necessary, and could water down some aspects of the Auckland Unitary Plan, including those designed to protect human health and the environment.
They said if the consented landfill didn’t end up being built – and the decision to allow that is currently the subject of multiple appeals to the Environment Court – then allowing the land to be designated as suitable for landfill implied “a degree of acceptability” and would lock in potential future land use.
Fight the Tip Tiaki Te Whenua executive Michelle Carmichael said the commissioners’ plan change decision was an important battle to win in the overall war against WM’s landfill scheme.
“The plan change decision certainly provides us with valuable arguments we can use when appealing the resource consent application, so it’s definitely a positive for us and our fight,” she said.
WM’s general manager for strategy, customers and sustainability, Ingrid Cronin Knight, said the company was reviewing the decision in detail before deciding how to progress.
“While it is disappointing the private plan change application has been declined, there are positives within the commissioners’ detailed decision,” she said.
Ms Cronin Knight said the fact that resource consent had already been granted was one of the reasons the panel had decided that the plan change was not necessary.
“Adding to this, the commissioners have indicated if the landfill is constructed and operated in accordance with the consents granted, the creation of a precinct could be appropriate in the future.”
The full decision can be read at www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/UnitaryPlanDocuments/pc-42-decision.pdf