Horowhenua District Council and Horizons Regional Council need to focus on complying with resource consent conditions, and ensuring enforcement of those conditions, says the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright, on the release of a report into the management of the Levin landfill.
"There has been a history of resource consent condition breaches on this site, some of which have been recurring," says Dr Wright. "This cannot continue."
The Levin landfill is in the Horowhenua District, four kilometres west of Levin. A landfill of some kind has existed on the site since the 1950s. For many years local residents have been concerned about the environmental effects of the landfill site, particularly given its proximity to the Hokio Stream.
Issues around the possible mismanagement of the Levin landfill were brought to the PCE's attention in 2004. The focus of the investigation, started by former Commissioner Dr Morgan Williams, was the management of the site since resource consents were granted in 2002.
"I have made a number of recommendations about the notified consent review proposed for later this year," says Dr Wright. "This will give the local community a chance to participate in the decision-making process, and for the councils to address identified operational issues and community concerns through revised consent conditions."
Recommendations have also been made regarding long-term planning for waste in the district; both through the need to plan for a future landfill and the development of long-term policies that promote waste minimisation and alternative disposal methods.
"I have recently become aware of local concerns about waste being imported to the site from outside the district," says Dr Wright. "I have also received a complaint about piping leachate from the site. Both of these issues are outside the terms of reference for this report. However, there would be merit in the two local authorities considering these issues further when looking at the consent conditions for this landfill, as well as the long-term plans for waste in the district more generally."
The report, including detailed recommendations, is available on the PCE website http://www.pce.parliament.nz
For more information contact:
04 471 1669 or 27 446 3326