No appeals against landfill decision

    AB Lime landfill on the outskirts of Winton, Southland. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery

    A CONTROVERSIAL landfill decision that was vehemently opposed by a community group is one step closer to becoming reality.

    The Environment Court on Tuesday revealed no appeals have been received about a July 16 decision which allows AB Lime to operate its Winton landfill under new conditions.

    Changes to consents, which include six new and one varied, mean the Winton company has no limit on the amount of waste it can receive for the next 25 years.

    The company had previously said it hoped to become the “premier” landfill for the bottom part of the South Island.

    A decision was made last month by independent commissioner Allan Cubitt, who concluded the proposal was “an efficient use of an established piece of the region’s critical infrastructure”.

    Both applicants and submitters were given 15 working days to appeal the decision and its conditions.

    At the time, AB Lime Landfill Action Group said it was “devastated” and called the timeframe for making an appeal “totally unrealistic”.

    The group was present throughout Environment Southland’s hearing process, in which four parties made submissions in opposition.

    “After some pushing, our concerns were listened to, but it seems it had no effect on the outcome whatsoever,” spokeswoman Katie Allen said last month.

    The action group ultimately decided against appealing the decision, and has not responded to requests for comment.

    AB Lime has operated a landfill at its Winton site for 15 years, in conjunction with a well-established limestone quarry.

    Environment Southland acting consents manager Bruce Halligan said he was aware of the strong concerns by some members of the community, and they had been taken into consideration.

    “Extensive conditions have been included in relation to matters such as odour management and receipt of special waste, to recognise the submitters’ concerns,” he said, following the decision.

    Landfill opponents worried about it becoming the sole landfill running in the lower South Island, and said waste should stay in the district where it was created.

    There has also been a history of odour complaints from AB Lime’s operation, 65 being made between 2004 and 2020.

    The nearest dwelling not owned by AB Lime is about 1200m from the site.

    One of the primary reasons for the company’s consent application was because the landfill was getting close to its 100,000-tonne limit.

    AB Lime is waiting on the outcome of consent applications to the Southland District Council concerning both noise and roading.

    Council manager of environmental planning Marcus Roy said the NZ Transport Agency managed the state highway network and only about 1.5km of the council’s local roads were affected by the landfill and lime quarry.

    The consent application lodged with the Southland District Council was awaiting iwi approval, a spokesman said.

    Some of the consent conditions imposed:

    Requirement to install equipment for continuous monitoring of hydrogen sulphide gas, to mitigate potential for odour issues; Condition specifying maximum oxygen level to be maintained within the landfill, to minimise potential for fires; Conditions on types of waste received.