The hearing panel was unanimous in turning down the private plan change, unlike its resource consent decision.
A private plan change application for a landfill in the Dome Valley has been refused.
It was announced today that a panel of five independent commissioners has unanimously turned down Waste Management NZ’s application to create a special landfill precinct in the Dome Valley.
This is the same panel that in June controversially granted the company resource consent to develop a new landfill, on the same land, by four votes to one which, conversely, members said was one of the reasons for declining the plan change application.
“Given the majority’s finely balanced finding in favour of the currently consented proposal, we do not consider it appropriate to lessen the regulatory tests and rigour that a revised proposal and design might entail,” they said.
“We find that the plan change conflicts with various AUP (Auckland Unitary Plan) provisions and more particularly, it is not needed to seek consent for a new landfill at the site.”
In a complex 37-page decision, the panel also said that there was no need for the proposed plan change at this time and its introduction now could compromise appropriate consenting processes and outcomes.
“Our assessment is that the precinct has the potential to create additional costs to the environment and introduce additional risks, compared to the framework currently provided by the AUP, but with little or no compensating benefits for the management of waste in the Auckland Region,” they said.
Their decision to grant Waste Management resource consent is being appealed by nine separate government departments, organisations and iwi at the Environment Court.
Under the Auckland Unitary Plan, landfill is a non-complying activity, so resource consent always had to be obtained.
However, as well as applying for resource consent in 2019, Waste Management applied at the same time for a private plan change to redesignate the Dome Valley site from rural production to a special landfill precinct.
Planners said at the time that this was to give them more chance of success, since if the resource consent was refused and the plan change granted, it would have been easier to gain resource consent for land already earmarked as a landfill precinct.
The decision can be read here