AB Lime landfill consents decision to be released

Allan Cubitt
Allan Cubitt
A landfill's controversial consent hearing has drawn to a close, the applicant saying it serves a vital role in the community.

Winton’s AB Lime applied last year for a number of consent renewals, one of which would remove the 100,000 tonne per annum cap at the dump.

The hearing began on Monday, when AB Lime presented its expert evidence to commissioner Allan Cubitt.

On Wednesday he heard from neighbours and the review of Pattle Delamore Partners environmental planning service leader Michael Durand.

Mr Durand had prepared a report for Environment Southland which recommended AB Lime’s application be refused.

That was one aspect of its multiple consent renewals.

In her right of reply, AB Lime’s lawyer Bridget Irving said the company disagreed with Mr Durand, as the effects of the proposal were unknown.

She also said there was no need for a total agreement among experts for a consent to be granted or not.

Instead, making determinations in light of conflicting evidence was part of the process.

Her conclusion included that the community continued to produce waste that was voluminous and needed careful disposal.

She said the landfill would continue to operate, regardless of the outcome of the consent application, and the decision that needed to be made was whether it was able to respond to community demand, and if the community could back the environmental improvements proposed.

These were what made it a win-win proposal, she said.

While Mr Cubitt was on Wednesday presented with a 1368-signature petition against the consents’ approval, Ms Irving said it could not be given any weight as evidence.

Issues of odour had been a focal point of the hearing and Ms Irving addressed the impact on submitters of vehicles headed to the tip.

There had only been one relevant complaint, but Ms Irving noted there were a number of odorous vehicles using the roads that were not related to the landfill’s activities.

"The presence of the traffic on this road is not created by the landfill, but by the production of the waste. If this landfill does not exist, the waste will need to be disposed of elsewhere, therefore these effects are part of the environment."

Mr Cubitt questioned this.

"I’ve heard a lot over the past few days that indicates that is not necessarily so.

"While that waste is being generated, it is being generated in other areas and coming into this area. Is that matter not directly related to the cap removal?"

Ms Irving replied, that was the case, in part, but it depended on "how broad you cast your net in terms of the environment on that issue", and the commissioner needed to consider mitigation measures and whether AB Lime was pulling all the levers that could be expected.

One of the proposed conditions would provide a process for calculating a bond for the after-care phase if the landfill were to close.

This would take place a year before activity ceased, and the bond would be lodged six months before.

The commissioner will make a decision in the next few weeks.


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