Waste Management NZ Ltd’s application to establish a new regional landfill running down to State Highway 1 in the Wayby Valley, midway between Warkworth & Wellsford 75km north of downtown Auckland, opened to public submissions on Thursday.
The proposal has been subject to a local campaign in opposition for months, and will be formally open to public submissions for the next month, closing on Tuesday 26 May.
Waste Management has made 2 applications:
- to introduce a new regional landfill precinct to the Auckland unitary plan with new provisions specific to the precinct, and
- to construct & operate a class 1 landfill (one that accepts municipal solid waste, which includes residential & commercial waste, construction & demolition waste, some industrial wastes that meet strict acceptance criteria & contaminated soils, but not loads of hazardous waste).
Waste Management’s summary of its reasons for the private plan change request:
- To appropriately recognise landfills as infrastructure within the Auckland unitary plan, by identifying a site within Auckland that has been assessed as being suitable for a new landfill, and describing this site through the use of a precinct and managing future effects of activities within the precinct through bespoke objectives, policies & rules
- In anticipation of a landfill being established at the site, providing recognition of the site in the planning framework for the Auckland region, consistent with the treatment of other largescale infrastructure in the region, and to manage potential future reverse sensitivity effects, and
- To enable efficient operation of a landfill at the site throughout its operating life, by targeting future reconsenting requirements to the nature of the discharge and measures to avoid, remedy or mitigate effects.
This site would replace the Redvale landfill, which takes about half Auckland’s waste at the moment.
The map of the proposed landfill precinct shows stream & wetland management areas and conservation zones on one side of State Highway 1.
Auckland Council’s general managers of plans & places and resource consents, John Duguid & Ian Smallburn, said in the notice opening submissions there were 2 separate processes:
“While both the resource consent application & private plan change request 42 deal with the same overall matter, being a regional landfill on the subject property, they are quite different & separate legal processes.
“The resource consent process assesses a specific & detailed proposal for a landfill. If granted, the landfill could then begin to be established on the site.
“In contrast, the private plan change is a higher-level process that sets up a framework in the unitary plan to identify on the planning maps the site for a potential landfill. If approved, the private plan change would not directly enable a landfill to be established – a further resource consent would be required as the proposed precinct is currently worded.
“The private plan change would set up the plan provisions that a future new or altered landfill resource consent would be assessed against. It is important to note that the resource consent application currently being processed will be assessed against the current unitary plan provisions rather than private plan change 42. The private plan change provisions have no legal effect until they are made operative.”
Waste Management has bought 1020ha for an engineered solid waste landfill after spending a decade on site selection, during which, the company said, it “considered a range of factors including access, site size, buffer availability, geology and environmental & cultural factors.
“This process resulted in the identification of the Wayby Valley site as the preferred location for the landfill due to a number of features, including:
- Its proximity to central Auckland
- Its proximity to State Highway 1
- Ability to maintain adequate separation distance from sensitive receivers
- Avoidance of identified & mapped sites of cultural significance
- Avoidance of significant ecological features & other features identified in the Auckland unitary plan, and
- Appropriate underlying geology.
The company lodged its consent application last May. Waste Management said it bought the 1020ha site to secure a buffer from surrounding sensitive receptors. The landfill footprint itself will occupy about 60ha in what is currently the rural production zone.
Attribution: Application documents.