In accordance with a delegation by Hutt City Council (HCC),
pursuant to the provisions of section 34 of the Resource Management Act 1991
(the RMA), the Commissioner had power to act in determination of the following
The following resolution represents Council’s
decision on the resource consent application:
That the Commissioner, acting under
delegated authority from Council and pursuant to sections 104, 104B, 105, 107
and 108 of the Resource Management Act 1991, GRANTS CONSENT, subject to
conditions, to the discretionary activity resource consent application made by
Tonkin and Taylor Ltd on behalf of Hutt City Council for the expansion of the
Wainuiomata Cleanfill at 130 Coast Road, Wainuiomata.
The resource consent conditions are set out in Appendix
1. The reasons for the decision are discussed more
In preparing this decision, I have had regard to Section
113 of the RMA. In particular, I note and have acted in accordance with
Section 113(3) which states that:
prepared under subsection (1) may, -
of repeating material, cross-refer to all or a part of -
assessment of environmental effects provided by the applicant concerned:
report prepared under section 41 C, 42A, or 92; or
all or a part of the assessment or report, and cross-refer to the material
For the sake of brevity, therefore, in this decision, I
have cross-referenced and/or adopted part of the application assessment and
Council’s report where I concur or accept that information or assessment.
The application site is located at 130 Coast Road, to the
south of the urban part of Wainuiomata. An irregularly shaped site, the
property is 6.4738ha in area, and surrounds a small lot at 126 Coast Road,
which contains a sewage pumping station. The location of the site is
shown in the aerial photograph in Error! Reference
source not found. below.
Originally both 126 and 130 Coast Road were part of a site
that contained a wastewater treatment plant, treating the sewage from
Wainuiomata; the plant was decommissioned in 2008. A consent notice is
registered on the certificate of title which identifies that contamination is
present from the previous use of the site and that remedial works have occurred
(capping layer). The consent notice also refers to the potential for
objectionable discharges to air from the sewage pumping station at 126 Coast
Road, to the lack of services on site and to the potential for flooding to
Part of the site (the north portion and around the pumping
station) is registered in the GWRC’s Selected Land Use Register (SLUR) as
a Category 1: Verified History of Hazardous Activity or Industry, specifically
relating to water recycling or waste or wastewater treatment activities
undertaken at the site.
The main access to the site comes off Coast Road to the north
of the site, with an angled entrance. The top part of the access road,
near the entrance, is sealed, while the remainder of the access road is
unsealed. A wheel-wash facility is located near the site kiosk,
comprising an excavated dip into which trucks can drive into. The site is
relatively well screened from Coast Road by a belt of trees and shrubs along
GWRC have confirmed that its revised flood modelling shows
the 1 in 100-year flood event from the Wainuiomata River is likely to inundate
some western areas of the subject site, but that a large portion of the subject
site is no longer subject to flooding.
The site is separated from the suburban edge of Wainuiomata
to the north by Ngāturi Park, a largely open grassed reserve, containing a
small playground. An 8m high noise attenuation bund, created as Stage I
cleanfill, is located on the northern part of the site where it borders
Ngāturi Park. The bund is bordered by a row of mature trees and a
fence along the northern boundary, and has been grassed and revegetated with
To the west is the Wainuiomata River and its
floodway. The River margins are largely planted in willow, while weedy
species such as blackberry fill the floodway. To the west of the River
are hills covered with regenerating bush, located within the East Harbour
To the east, the site adjoins Coast Road, which is has been
cut along the base of the hills that mark the eastern edge of the Wainuiomata
valley. The road in this location is elevated above the valley floor,
rising up from the south where it crosses a small stream (Scholes Creek) up to
12 metres above the valley floor There are a number of large lot
residential properties located on the eastern hillslopes, with building
platforms elevated well above the valley floor.
South of the site are a cluster of residential properties
and a camp. While this area is relatively well vegetated, some of the
properties have line-of-sight of the application site.
The site is owned by the Hutt City Council, and was
previously part of a large lot that was used as a wastewater treatment site
until it was decommissioned. In September 2008, the land on which it was
sited was subdivided into 8 lots, including the site that is the subject of
this resource consent application.
The majority of the site has been used for a cleanfill
activity for the last eight years. Resource consent for the initial
Cleanfill operation on the site was lodged jointly to the Hutt City Council
(HCC) and the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) in August 2009, for a
proposal to deposit approximately 165,000m3 of Cleanfill over a
10-year period. The application was limited notified to adjoining
property-owners, with resource consent granted in April 2011, which provided
for a two-staged fill occurring over 6 years (that is, until 27 April 2017).
Stage I of the operation (28,000m3) was to
create a large bund along the northern side of the site, alongside Ngāturi
Park. This stage has since been completed and planted.
Stage 2 (137,000m3) was to create a crescent
shaped bund around to the west and south of the pumping station. This
stage was not completed by the end of the six year consent period, and a
non-notified replacement consent was sought and obtained in 2017 to extend the
period of fill to 2027. However, the amount of fill being received at the
site has significantly increased since 2017, and Stage 2 had nearly reached
full capacity by the time of the Hearing in early November.
These consents set the maximum finished fill of the
cleanfill at a height of up to 12m above the existing ground level, which would
result in a finished ground level broadly level with that of Coast Road.
The footprints of Stages 1 and 2 are shown in Figure 2 below.
The consented capacity and footprint of Stage 2 was
determined by on-site limitations; in particular, the identification of the
western part of the site coming within the 1-in-100 year Wainuiomata River
flood zone as modelled by GWRC, and the need to keep cleanfill out of deeper
areas of predicted flooding. Stage 2 was also designed to protect the
base from any potential flooding by installing concrete anchor blocks, with a
A subsequent review of flooding risks by GWRC shifted the
modelled flood lines, reducing the extent and depth of predicted inundation on
the site, particularly to the south of the Stage 2 cleanfill. It is in
this area in which the proposed third stage of cleanfill is proposed.
I was informed that the existing cleanfill operation is an
important infrastructural asset for HCC. It provides for a managed
cleanfill facility that accommodates excess fill material associated with the
continued growth and development of both Wainuiomata and the wider Hutt
City. I was also informed that the Council expects an ongoing
demand for cleanfill for the foreseeable future, with a range of current and
anticipated developments in Wainuiomata and elsewhere in the Hutt Valley.
Accordingly, HCC proposes to expand the existing cleanfill into an area of land
located adjacent to the existing cleanfill. Over the period of this
extension (Stage 3), the Council will identify and consent a longer term
cleanfill site elsewhere in the Hutt Valley.
Full details of the proposal are contained in the
application and in the Council Planner’s s.42A report.
In summary, the applicant seeks resource consent for the
southward expansion of the Wainuiomata Cleanfill at 130 Coast Road. This
would represent Stage 3 of the Cleanfill operation at the site. The
applicant stated that the proposed expansion would provide for an approximately
additional 117,000m3 of clean fill being deposited. This fill
would have a maximum height above existing ground level of up to approximately
The application is for a time period of 2½ years
from date of being granted, based on a commitment made by the Mayor and Chief
Executive of HCC.
Details of the proposed operation of the Stage 3 cleanfill
were set out in the application. Some key aspects are that:
is proposed to operate between Monday to Friday 7.30am – 5.00pm and
Saturday 7.30am – 12.00pm (noon)
staff member is to be based on site during these hours to manage customer
arrivals and material being deposited
entrance gate is to be closed and locked outside working hours to prevent
Other aspects of the proposed operation of Stage 3 are
discussed in my evaluation of effects below.
I note that, arising from the applicant’s
right-of-reply, in response to feedback received before and during the hearing,
it is not intended to construct the access road around the base of the proposed
cleanfill as shown below.
The Plan showing the location and proposed fill contours is
shown in Figure 2 below.
Plan of proposed cleanfill extension (orange)
GWRC granted non-notified consent in May 2019 to the
regional consents that were sought: namely –
Under the Proposed Natural Resources Plan for Wellington
discharge of contaminants to air (dust) from cleanfilling activities, as a
discretionary activity under Rule R41
discharge of sediment laden water from cleanfilling activities, as a
discretionary activity under Rule R53
discharge of cleanfill material to land, as a discretionary activity under Rule
Under the Regional Freshwater Plan for Wellington
discharge of sediment laden water from cleanfill activities, as a discretionary
activity under Rule 5, and
Under the Regional Air Quality Management Plan for
discharge of contaminants to air (dust) from cleanfilling activities, as a
discretionary activity under Rule 23.
National Environmental Standards
It is noted the application states that no further
cleanfill activities or ground disturbances are proposed on that part of the
site identified as a SLUR area.
Both Council and Applicant’s planners agreed that an
assessment under the National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing
Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health 2011 was not required, despite the
site being identified as being contaminated. Their conclusion was based
on the fact that the proposal will not disturb any underlying soil as it
involves the deposition of clean fill on top of the land, and that the proposed
area for Stage 3 is to the south of where treatment plant activities occurred,
beyond the capped layer of fill that was deposited after the plant was
decommissioned. I accept this interpretation.
District Plan Site Zoning
Under the operative City of Lower Hutt District Plan
(‘District Plan’), the site is predominantly located within the
General Rural Activity Area. This zoning aims to provide for a wide
variety of rural-based activities, while managing rural character and
A small portion of the property to the northwest (part of
Ngāturi Park) is within the General Recreation Activity Area. The
entirety of the proposed Stage 3 expansion is located within the General Rural
Two small portions of the eastern side of the site is
located within the Primary River Corridor, which is an overlay on top of the
underlying Rural zoning.
The site is designated under the District Plan as HCC11
– Bulk Waste Water Treatment Plant. However, the application site
is no longer used for wastewater treatment and the proposed cleanfill activity
is not provided for by this designation.
The zoning of the site and its environs is shown in Figure 3
3: Zoning of site and environs
The relevant rules are contained within Chapters 8 (General
Rural Activity Area), and the City-wide rules under Chapters 14C (Noise), 14H
(Natural Hazards) and 14I (Earthworks).
The deposition of clean fill is included in the definition
of “earthworks”, which is a permitted activity if it complies with
the permitted activity conditions of the District Plan.
The proposed cleanfill does not meet the following
City-wide general conditions:
– the activity is anticipated to generate noise in the General Rural
Activity Area that would exceed the limit of 50 dBA between 7am and 10pm (Rule
14C 2.1.10); and
– defined as a type of ‘earthwork’, the cleanfill would be
unable to comply with the permitted activity standards for earthworks in that
it would alter the natural ground level by more than 1.2 vertical metres and
deposit more than 50m3 on site (Rule 14I 2.2).
The non-compliance with noise standards requires resource
consent as a discretionary activity, while the earthworks non-compliance
requires resource consent as a restricted discretionary activity.
Under Rule 8B 2.3(a)) for the General Rural Activity Area,
the undertaking of earthworks that is unable to comply with the general
requirements identified in Chapter 14 – General Rules requires resource
consent as a discretionary activity.
Overall, the land use consent is as a discretionary
The application was limited notified to all adjoining the
owners and occupiers of land in the immediate area on 16 July 2019. After
an extension of time was granted for the submission period, submissions finally
closed on 19 August 2019.
In total, 8 submissions in opposition to the application
were received within the extended timeframe, and one additional late submission
was accepted by the Council under s37 of the Resource Management Act (the Act).
Submissions were received from:
Miria O’Regan, 203 Coast Road
Miria O’Regan as manager of Camp Wainuiomata, 204 Coast Road
John Gray, 204 Coast Road
Jed Bircham and Ms Kourtney Ross, 119 Coast Road
Sally-Ann Moffat, 202 Coast Road
Alicia Martin, 199 Coast Road
Patricia Ranstead and Mr Jim Sutton, 205 Coast Road
Grant Birkinshaw, on behalf of Mr John Tamasese and Ms Ariana Solomon, 202
Coast Road and
Gary and Mrs Denise O’Meara, 200 Coast Road (late submission).
The s42A report identified the issues from the submissions
with consultation and undertakings given on behalf of the applicant
environment, ecology, habitat effects
of hazardous not unacceptable material
Effects or Risks
Quality in Wainuiomata River
effects during and post expansion
effects, Sediment Control
about management of the site
and Remediation works
with monitoring of the existing Cleanfill
with iwi, lack of recognition of statutory obligations
contamination from sewage sludge.
I record that I have read all the submissions in full prior
to the Hearing and had regard to them all as part of my evaluation of the
The resource consent application was heard by an
Independent Commissioner, Mr Robert Schofield.
I undertook a site visit 4 October 2019. I record
that I was not accompanied on the site visit by the applicant, submitter or
officers. For my safety, given the cleanfill was in full operation, I was
accompanied by a senior Civil Engineer from Tonkin and Taylor who was not
involved with the land use consent application.
The Hearing was held in the Hutt City Council Chambers,
Laings Road, Lower Hutt on Tuesday 5 November 2019, commencing at 9.00am.
I closed the Hearing on 27 November 2019, after the circulation of revised
recommended resource consent conditions and the written right-of-reply from the
applicant, and confirmation that I had sufficient information on which to make
The following people presented submissions and evidence to the
For the applicant:
Mr Ian Gordon, Counsel
Mr Bruce Sherlock, retired HCC
Contracts Manager – Solid Waste, representing the applicant
Mr Alastair Meehan, Consultant
Resource Management Planner, Tonkin & Taylor Ltd
Mr William Rodenburg, Consultant
Civil and Transport Engineer, Tonkin & Taylor Ltd
Mr Darran Humpheson, Consultant
Senior Acoustics Specialist, Tonkin & Taylor Ltd
Mr Edryd Breese, Consultant
Environmental Management Specialist, Tonkin & Taylor Ltd
Mr Rueben Ferguson, Consultant
Water Resources Engineer
Mr Craig Innes
Ms Trish Ranstead
Mr Gary O’Meara
Mr Jed Bircham (Sally-Anne Moffit
speaking on his behalf)
Ms Sally-Anne Moffitt
Ms Miria O’Regan on behalf
of Mr John Gray and herself
Mr Finlayson, Counsel on behalf of
Ms Moffitt, Ms O’Regan and Mr Gray
Mr Grant Birkinshaw
Mr Stephen Dennis, Principal
Mr Lindsay Daysh, Consultant
Planner, Incite (Reporting Planner)
Mr Steve Arden, Consultant
Acoustics Engineer, Marshall Day
Mr Mark Georgeson, Consultant
Traffic Engineer, Stantec
Ms Emma Manohar, HCC Legal
Advisor, DLA Piper
I was assisted in an administrative capacity by Mrs Heather
Clegg, Hearings Administrator for HCC.
All of the written material presented by the above parties
is held on file at Hutt City Council, as well as the photographs and video
footage that were submitted as part of the submission by Ms Moffat.
For the sake of brevity, rather than summarising the points
raised in submissions and evidence, I have focused on the key issues in
contention and refer to any relevant matters raised in the submissions and
evidence under those topics.
At the hearing, Mrs J Wootton, a resident of Moores Valley
Road, Wainuiomata asked to be heard. She was not notified of the
application, and I advised her that she had no legal rights as a submitter to
the resource consent application. With the agreement of the applicant,
however, I agreed to hear Ms Wotton, who briefly spoke to share her concerns
about the proposed cleanfill, stating that she thought that the whole of
Wainuiomata should have been notified of the application due to its wide
reaching effects on the whole community. She expressed concern about the
many trucks passing daily through the community, adding to safety concerns for
traffic and pedestrians especially from schools, churches and shopping
areas. She further added that the large trucks driving along the road
cause buildings to shake.
While I acknowledge her concerns, I am unable to place much
weight on her submission.
It was also contended by Mr Birkinshaw, speaking on behalf
of Mr John Tamasese and Ms Ariana Solomon, that Ngāti Toa Rangatira should
also have been notified, as that iwi had a statutory acknowledgement over Cook
Strait as part of its Treaty settlement, into which the Wainuiomata River
flows. In the right-of-reply, applicant’s legal counsel observed
that it was outside my ambit of delegated authority to make any determination
about which parties should have been notified. I agree: I only have
authority to make a substantive decision on the application. The
decisions on notification were made by the Council in its decision to limit
notification to those nearest residential neighbouring properties. I
shall return to the question of effects on Cook Strait later in my decision
As a discretionary activity, the application must be
assessed in accordance with the provisions of sections 104 and 104B of the
Resource Management Act 1991 (the Act). The process for considering a
discretionary activity is as follows:
identify the relevant section 104 matters, and
part of the overall discretion in section 104B, weigh the relevant matters
under section 104.
The relevant section 104 matters to consider are as
actual and potential effects on the environment of allowing the activity
relevant provisions of the District Plan
relevant provisions of the Regional Policy Statement
provisions of any relevant National Environmental Standard
2 of the Act, and
other relevant matter as necessary to determine the application.
Under section 104B in determining an application for a
discretionary activity, a consent authority—
grant or refuse the application; and
it grants the application, may impose conditions under section 108.
Section 108 sets out the requirements for imposing
conditions of consent and the types of conditions that may be imposed.
Section 104(2) states that:
when forming an opinion for the purpose of subsection 1(a)
[in regard to any actual and potential effects on the environment of allowing
the activity], a consent authority may disregard an adverse effect of the activity
on the environment if a national environmental standard or the plan permits an
activity with that effect.
The District Plan would permit earthworks in the General
Rural Activity Area insofar as it did not alter the natural ground level by
more than 1.2 vertical metres and deposit more than 50m3 on site
(Rule 14I 2.2). The application is to alter the ground level by the
deposition of fill by up to 12m in vertical metres, involving a total volume of
117,000m3. These metrics are substantially greater than the
permitted activity standards.
As such, I find the permitted baseline for earthworks to be
of limited relevance for this application. I would note that neither the
applicant’s planner nor the Council’s reporting planner contended
that there was a permitted baseline for assessing the effects of the proposal.
Based on the material provided in the application, the
submission, the s42A report and evidence presented to the Hearing, I consider that
the principal issues in contention are:
Effects on water quality
Effects from hazardous/unacceptable material
Effects on visual amenity
Flooding and hazard effects
Effects on ecology
Effects from dust and odour
Effects from traffic
Effects from noise and vibration
Before I consider the effects from the proposed cleanfill,
I note that I was asked by some submitters to consider the potential effects
arising from actual or potential discharges into the air, land and water.
In reviewing the resource consent applications (including the Assessment of
Effects on the Environment) and the decision reports from GWRC, I am satisfied
that the effects from the discharges to air, land and groundwater have been
adequately addressed by the Regional Council which has consented those
discharges, with the effects from any of these discharges will be managed under
the conditions to those resource consents. The decision report by the
Regional Council considered that the effects of any discharges would be no more
than minor. Accordingly, the only effects from discharges that I have
determined to be relevant for the consideration of the land use consent
application are those that given rise to effects on amenity values, such as
from dust and odour.
The application set out the necessity for the cleanfill
extension, and the positive benefits it would create. These benefits were
expanded in the written evidence of Mr Bruce Sherlock, the former Contracts
Manager for Solid Waste for the Council.
Mr Sherlock stated that the current cleanfill receives
approximately 50% of the fill from local development in Wainuiomata, 45% from
within the wider Hutt Valley and the remaining 5% from elsewhere in the
Region. He stated that, following the closure of the Waiu Street
cleanfill and the near closure of the Dry Creek cleanfill, the cleanfill on
Coast Road, if consented, will be the only cleanfill facility in the Hutt
Valley. Alternatively, local contractors will have to bear the costs of cartage
to a cleanfill site in Wellington or to the Silverstream landfill, increasing
the costs of development. Mr Sherlock contended that having a specific
cleanfill facility in the Hutt Valley will reduce the possibility of fly
tipping or the use of unconsented private cleanfill sites.
The application stated that the cleanfill provides a
cost-effective and viable alternative to depositing clean material into the
Silverstream landfill, which has limited available space that should be more
effectively set aside for those materials which specifically require deposition
at a landfill. The application stated that reducing the amount of
cleanfill deposited at Silverstream will extend the life of that
landfill. The application stated that, given the financial and environmental
costs associated with creating new or extending existing landfills, the
expansion of the cleanfill at Coast Road will provide strong positive benefits
for the wider community.
Mr Sherlock noted that Hutt City Council does not expect
the generation of cleanfill to subside in the near future, and consequently
there will be an ongoing demand for a cleanfill disposal site.
At the hearing, Mr Sherlock confirmed the Council is
committed to working within the 2½ year (30-month) consent duration for
the proposed cleanfill extension. He stated that the Council is actively
looking for alternative sites to provide long-term asset security, and that the
Council requires the cleanfill extension as a short-term solution while it
completes its process of finding and consenting an alternative cleanfill
facility, as well as finding methods for increasing levels of material re-use
and recycling that can be incorporated into a long-term cleanfill facility.
The application also identified the cleanfill site at Coast
Road as providing an important local facility for Council asset maintenance and
upgrade works, as well as for responses to emergency events, such as landslips
along Coast Road.
The application also cited that another benefit of the
cleanfill is that the site will be created as a reserve after the cleanfill
operation, and planted according to an environmental restoration plan that
would be required as a resource consent condition. This plan would
identify measures to grass, revegetate or landscape any exposed areas, and
ensure that the site is left in a suitable condition for future use as a
reserve. The applicant contended that this will protect and enhance the
long-term amenity of the immediate environment, particularly when considering
the nature of the existing vegetation on-site, which currently consists largely
of exotic species, including invasive blackberry bushes.
I accept that the extension of the cleanfill at 130 Coast
Road would provide a range of benefits for the wider community as
identified. In particular, I acknowledge that the extension would provide
the Council with a period of time in which to find a long-term alternative
cleanfill site. I also accept that the cleanfill extension would support
local development during a time of rapid growth. I would, however, note
that the site could be developed as a reserve without the need for cleanfill or
at least a substantially lesser amount of cleanfill.
Effects on Ecology
Four submitters expressed concern about the adverse effects
that the cleanfill extension would have on the ecology of area and loss of
habitats: Ms O’Regan, Ms O’Regan for Camp Wainui, Mr Gray and Ms
In response to these concerns, the Council sought further
information from the applicant and consequently an assessment of the local
vegetation and habitats was provided by Tonkin and Taylor. The assessment
stated that the application site is dominated by exotic weed species, primarily
blackberry, as well as gorse, pampas grass, cracked willow and other
species. The assessment noted that the vegetation is not identified as
having any value within the District Plan.
My site visit confirmed that much of the vegetation on-site
is exotic scrub or weeds, dominated by blackberry. While I accept that
this vegetation is likely to provide a habitat for some species, the vegetation
itself has low value and its loss would, in relation to the amount of similar
vegetation in the area, be minor.
The only stand of indigenous vegetation is the roadside
belt of vegetation, which would largely be untouched by the proposed cleanfill
extension, and could be, as proposed by the applicant, protected by way of a
resource consent condition.
In the long-term, if the site were restored through
planting of appropriate indigenous vegetation, the habitat values of the site
would be enhanced.
Based on the evidence before me, I find that the proposed
cleanfill extension would have less than minor effects on habitats and ecological
values, and, through restoration planting following cleanfill operations, could
provide long-term enhancement to the local ecology.
Effects on Water Quality
The potential impact on water quality was specifically
raised in the submissions of Mr Gray and by Mr Bircham and Ms Ross, while other
submitters expressed broader concerns about the potential impact that runoff
from the proposed cleanfill extension would have on the natural
The application sets out the proposed measures for managing
stormwater and sediment runoff, based on the Regional Council guidelines.
These measures include prompt revegetation of slope where fill has finished,
using perimeter bunds and directing any overland flows to a grit trap.
The fill site is located at some distance from the River, and during my site
visit I saw no sign of any sediment runoff from the current fill towards the
Mr Breese, an environmental management specialist engaged
by the applicant, provided evidence on water quality. He noted that Hutt
City Council has a water quality monitoring site about 1km downstream of the
cleanfill site, established as a control mechanism for assessing potential
discharges from the former wastewater treatment plant. Mr Breese had
compared monitoring data gathered before and after the current cleanfill
operation commenced, and could find no evidence that the cleanfill was having
an adverse effect on water quality in the Wainuiomata River. He
considered the likelihood of the cleanfill operation to impact on water quality
to be unlikely for several reasons:
The material deposited
at the cleanfill contains no combustible or putrescible components or hazardous
substance that could leach as runoff
The potential for
overland flow is managed by the sediment control measures used on-site
There are no
watercourses linking the cleanfill site with the River, and
The ground between the
site and River comprises unconsolidated river gravels with very high
The effects of the discharges from the cleanfill extension
were addressed by GWRC in its evaluation of the resource consent applications
for discharges into ground and into land where it may enter water. The
principal potential adverse effects on water was identified as possible
sediment entering the river, and the GWRC report concluded that any
sediment-laden water that may be discharged to the River will be first treated
by on-site erosion and sediment control measures. The Council concluded
that the proposed activity will have no more than a minor effect on the aquatic
life of the River.
The Regional Council granted consent to the various
discharges on an integrated basis, with a comprehensive suite of resource
consent conditions that set standards, monitoring requirements and review
procedures. The conditions include the development of an Erosion and
Sediment Control Plan that must be approved by the Regional Council prior to
any works commencing.
I note the duration of these discharge permits is for
2½ years, to correspond with that proposed for the land use consent.
Overall, I am satisfied that any effects from the proposed
cleanfill on water quality, both that of the river as well as groundwater, will
be less than minor.
Effects from Dust and Odour
Submitters were concerned about the dust that could be
generated by the proposed cleanfill extension, citing previous examples of dust
being blown off the fill and creating a nuisance to neighbouring residential
properties. Submitters observed that the site was exposed to the prevailing
northwesterly wind, with the wind being channelled down the valley, from the
cleanfill site towards the residential properties to the east and south.
Given that proposed Stage 3 would be sited closer to the
residential properties than the current cleanfill operations, there is
potential for dust to create a nuisance for local residents.
The applicant proposed to have a specific resource consent
condition to require the consent holder to manage the cleanfill operation in a
manner to ensure that no dust nuisance occurs beyond the boundary of the
site. The applicant also proposed that dust management be addressed as
part of the proposed Site Management Plan (SMP), to be required under the
resource consent conditions. Dust control measures include:
a staff member on site to monitor the potential for dust generation
low speed limits for vehicles on-site
a wheel-wash, and
or watering tracks
areas of deposited cleanfill as required, and
work if dust is being blown beyond the site.
On questioning, I was informed during the hearing by the
applicant’s civil and transportation engineer, Mr Rodenburg, that
currently the potential for dust is monitored by the cleanfill operator on a
day-to-day basis, and if required watering equipment is used to mitigate the
generation of dust. I was informed that such equipment is not kept on
site, but is brought on site when needed.
In response to my questions, the applicant has subsequently
proposed that the condition on dust be amended to require that “the presence of a watercart (or similar water source
suitable for managing the generation of dust) on-site at all times that filling
I note that GWRC assessed the potential for dust generation
as part of its evaluation of the discharges to air application. The
Council concluded that the proposed mitigation measures should be adequate in
controlling dust emissions from the site. The regional consents that have
been issued for the proposed Stage 3 cleanfill include conditions for dust
control, a requirement to seal the access road into the site, and a general
overarching requirement that there shall be no discharges to air that would be noxious,
dangerous, offensive or objectionable at or beyond the site boundary.
The potential for dust nuisance is one of the principal
adverse effects that can be generated by cleanfill operations as with any
earthworks. Given that the Stage 3 site would be located closer to
neighbouring properties, effective dust management will be an important facet
of the proposed cleanfill operation: this includes having watering equipment
on-site during cleanfill operations.
Given the wide suite of measures that are proposed to be
used to mitigate this effect, I am satisfied that the effect from potential
dust nuisance can be managed to be no more than minor.
Effects from Hazardous or
The nature of the material to be deposited on the site was
a key issue for submitters. They drew on their own observations of
material being deposited at the current cleanfill operations (Stage 2).
Material seen to be deposited include plastic bottles, paper and hydrovac
material (discussed below). Ms Moffat tabled photographs of a private
individual depositing material at the site. She also table photographs of
hydrovac material being tipped directly onto the fill slope.
The submission from Ms Moffat helpfully included a copy of
the Ministry for the Environment Guidelines for Cleanfill (2002). The
Guideline notes that cleanfills are intended to accept only inert wastes, and
identifies two principal types of fills that can be deposited in a
Acceptable material is generally inert material that
includes bricks, concrete, road sub-base, glass, soils, rock, gravel,
clay. Steel reinforced concrete is acceptable, provided protruding
reinforcing steel is cut off at the concrete face. Certain types of other
material are defined as ‘conditionally acceptable’, subject to
controls on their nature and restrictions on their deposition. For
example, the Guidelines state that plastics are typically inert, and small
quantities of building plastics such as pipes and plastic sheeting amongst a
matrix of cleanfill material are acceptable. However, the Guidelines note
that a large quantity of plastic on its own or with other combustible material
may present a fire hazard.
The Guidelines clearly distinguish the differences between
a ‘landfill’ and a ‘cleanfill’, stating that:
solid waste accepted at landfills comprises any non-hazardous, solid and
degradable waste from a combination of residential, commercial and industrial
sources. It includes putrescible waste and garden waste. This type
of material placed in a landfill will degrade, producing leachate and landfill
gas over an extended period.
In contrast, cleanfills are promoted as low-cost
alternatives to landfills for “inert” waste that will have
potentially no adverse environmental effect, or only minor effects.
In response to my questions of the former Site Contract
Manager, Mr Sherlock, stated that a small amount of plastic or organic material
is acceptable and permitted within the conditions. He stated that
incoming material is closely monitored, and where the operator identifies
non-acceptable material, it is put aside for removal at the contractor’s
Only material such as clay, soil, rock, concrete, dry
asphaltic concrete, glass, ceramics, tiles or brick that are free of
combustible or putrescible components or hazardous substances or materials
likely to create a hazardous leachate by means of biological breakdown, shall
be deposited within the cleanfill site.
This limitation would preclude the discretion for the
cleanfill operator to accept ‘conditionally acceptable’ material,
such as the example I was given of a Wainui local who was undertaking home
renovations, and was allowed to deposit waste that fell within the acceptance
In regard to the management of the current cleanfill, Mr
Sherlock expressed confidence in the current operator that the Council has contracted
to run the cleanfill. Mr Sherlock noted that the contractor is well aware
that breaching the requirements would result in him losing this contract.
Mr Sherlock also explained the monitoring processes that currently operate,
with Tonkin and Taylor contracted as environmental consultants to monitor the
operations and report to GWRC. He also referred to the audits that both
GWRC and Hutt City Council as regulators undertake themselves. Mr
Sherlock explained how the operator scrutinises customers wishing to use the
cleanfill, which includes their on-site behaviour and safety performance, as
well as the source and types of material they proposed to deposit.
The decision report of the GWRC in respect of the discharge
application considered that, due to the number of complaints from members of
the public in the past with regard to potential unacceptable material, strict
acceptance criteria needs to be applied. I agree, and consider that the
recommended limitation of acceptable material as outlined in paragraph 7.37
above will prevent the degree of discretion that has apparently led to the
instances of tipping that have been observed by submitters.
Another issue in relation to the types of material being
deposited at the current cleanfill was hydrovac material: hydrovac material
comprises rock, soil and other ground material excavated using water jets
during trenching or site investigations. At the hearing, Ms Moffat
outlined her observations of hydrovac material being disposed directly onto the
cleanfill face which flowed down to the base.
In response to Ms Moffat’s observations, I was
informed by Mr Rodenburg, civil engineer for the applicant, that the process
for containing and treating this semi-liquid material has been upgraded since
the Council received complaints. He outlined the new two-stage separation
system that has been established in which the water within the hydrovac
material can be removed and the solid material, making this type of material
acceptable for a cleanfill. I observed this treatment system on my site
Mr Rodenburg, upon questioning, noted that the MfE
Guidelines state that high water content material should not be accepted, and
hence the need for a separation process on-site. He also stated that only
uncontaminated hydrovac material is accepted at the site.
Another issue raised by submitters concerning current
cleanfill operations was flytipping, the illegal dumping of waste on the
site. To this end, one of the recommended consent conditions was that the
SMP should include measures undertaken to prevent members of the public from
dumping rubbish at the site. However, submitters also expressed concerns
that the proposed access track around to the south of the proposed cleanfill
could encourage flytipping. To address this concern, the applicant
confirmed, through the right-of-reply, that the Council no longer wishes to
pursue this aspect of the proposed cleanfill.
The applicant acknowledges that some past practices have
occurred that require improved processes. In response to concerns raised
about the types of material being deposited at the cleanfill, the applicant has
recommended tightening the consent conditions to address these matters and site
management in general, including the level of monitoring that would be
I am satisfied that, under these conditions, site
operations can be managed to prevent or minimise adverse effects from the material
being deposited at the site. Accordingly, I find that, with appropriate
management and regular monitoring, the effects of the material being deposited
at proposed cleanfill extension would be no more than minor.
Effects from Traffic
Submitters expressed concern about the effects of traffic
generated by the proposed cleanfill extension. Submissions from Mr and
Mrs O’Meara, Ms O’Regan, Mr Bircham and Ms Ross, and Ms Moffat
raised concerns about the tracking of mud and debris onto Coast Road by trucks
leaving the current cleanfill site. Ms Moffat produced photographs
showing the amount of material being tracked on to Coast Road, including rocks
and gravel. She also tabled a stone that had been tracked onto the Road.
As outlined in the evidence of Mr Rodenburg, a truck
wheel-wash was installed in 2018 in response to ongoing issues with material
being tracked onto the road. In Mr Rosenburg’s opinion, the
incidence of material being tracked onto Coast Road has since been reduced, but
noted that it is still an ongoing issue. As I noted at the hearing, given
the wheel-wash is to one side of the access road, trucks are not compelled to
use the wheel-wash although the site operator is able to monitor its use.
In his civil and transportation engineering evidence, Mr
Rodenburg considered that a truck-wash combined with a stabilised site entrance
represents best practice. Mr Rodenburg stated that a portable truck-wash
would be a more mechanical, targeted cleaning process, and would replace the
current facility. He said that water would come from the public water
On this matter, Mr Sherlock confirmed the Council would
accept a consent condition that would require the use of the portable
The applicant also proposed a condition that would limit
the number of trucks visiting the site to no more than 75 per day.
I note that issues such as tracking could be addressed
through the proposed Community Liaison Group that the applicant recommends
being established by way of a resource consent condition.
In terms of traffic safety, through the right-of-reply, the
applicant has confirmed that it would not construct a secondary access road
along the south of the site. Therefore, the safety of this intersection
with Coast Road is no longer a relevant effect to consider. In regard to
the existing entrance, in his evidence, Mr Rodenburg recommended that a
vegetation maintenance programme be carried out to ensure sightlines are
maintained at the existing entranceway, and that the current turning restrictions
at the entrance continue to be enforced. On these latter two points, the
revised recommended consent conditions did not specifically address the safety
of the existing entranceway, but this is a matter that the SMP could address.
The applicant has agreed to a condition that would require
the access road internal to the site between the site gate and the site
entrance kiosk to be sealed.
In considering the evidence, I am
satisfied that the adverse effects of traffic generated by the proposed
cleanfill extension would have no more than minor effects on the
environment. There was no evidence that the historic and current
cleanfill operations had created any significant safety or capacity issues on
In terms of the potential for trucks to track material onto
Coast Road, based on the evidence before me, I find that, with the use of
mechanical truck washing combined with sealing the assess road into the site
should minimise the potential for mud and other material being tracked onto
Coast Road. Tighter monitoring requirements along with the establishment
of a Community Liaison Group should also contribute to ensuring that this
effect will be no more than minor.
Effects on Visual Amenity
Ms O’Regan, Mr Bircham, Ms Ross and Ms Moffat
expressed concern about the adverse effects on visual amenity that extending
the cleanfill would have, particularly in altering the local landform by up to
12m, and bringing the cleanfill to closer proximity to their properties from
which they will have a perspective of the site.
These changes were acknowledged by the applicant’s
planner, Mr Meehan, in his evidence. Mr Meehan addressed this effect from
two perspectives: the short and long term.
In the short-term, he accepted there will be some visual
effects during its operation. However, he considered this to be mitigated
by the short duration of the activity – 2½ years until cleanfill
operations had to cease. Mr Meehan also expected the sequencing of the
fill under the SMP would reduce the area of exposed earth visible at any one
In terms of public views, in my site visit, I observed that
there is only a short section of Coast Road from which a clear line-of-sight
would be had of the proposed cleanfill extension, from just north of the bridge
over Scholes Creek. To the south of the Creek, existing vegetation will
obscure the site, while alongside the site and from the north, the existing
roadside planting provides an effective screen.
In the longer-term, Mr Meehan was of the opinion that the
applicant has proposed to undertake all reasonable steps to mitigate visual
effects, listing four reasons for his opinion:
Site remediation will
include recontouring and replanting to resemble a vegetated natural landform
which he considers will, in the long-term, represent an improvement in the
local visual amenity
The proposed fill would
have a finished slope of 1H:3V and a top profile of 1H:6V, that he considers
would soften the visual impact
Much of the finished
fill will be below the level of Coast Road and will not be visually imposing
when viewed from that road, and
The retention of the
roadside vegetation will mitigate the effects for Coast Road users to the
Based on the evidence before me, I acknowledge that the
cleanfill extension will have an adverse impact on the visual amenity of the
vicinity. However, this effect will be short-term, given the short
duration proposed (2½ years) and the proposed sequencing of fill,
allowing non-active sections to be vegetated. In the long term, the
finished contours will soften its appearance within the landscape, further
mitigated by restoration planting that, in the longer-term, will provide an
enhanced view. Accordingly, I find that the effects of the proposed
cleanfill extension will be no more than minor.
Effects from Noise and Vibration
Submitters expressed concerns about the adverse noise and
vibration effects that the proposed cleanfill extension would have on their
health and amenity. They cited many instances of situation where they
could hear loud noises from cleanfill operations to date: these noises include
the noise of vehicle reversing alarms, clanging tailgates, the noise from the
pad foot roller, and general truck movements. During my site visit,
I experienced the noise from some of these sources.
The applicant engaged Mr Darran Humpheson, an experienced
acoustic consultant, to assess potential noise levels from the proposed
cleanfill extension, and provide advice on noise management measures. The
Council engaged Mr Steve Arden from Marshall Day to peer review the
applicant’s noise assessment.
The evidence of the applicant’s acoustic expert, Mr
Humpheson, was that the magnitude and character of the noise that can be
anticipated will be similar to that currently experienced, given that the hours
of operation are proposed to be the same, the number of visiting vehicles is
expected to be similar, and no new noise sources will be on-site. He
assessed that noise levels will be within the District Plan’s daytime
noise limit of 50 dB LA10 for all but one location, that being at 199 Coast
Road when work takes place within 60m of the eastern boundary. In his
opinion, Mr Humpheson considers that a 2 decibel exceedance of the District
Plan limit would not be perceptible or be significant, given that the location
of the site work would vary across the site.
I questioned Mr Humpheson whether creating a noise bund
would be feasible, such as the northern one. He considered that a noise
bund would not be effective due to topography. He considered that the
sensitive times for noise are in the morning and evening, and could be easily
managed within a Noise Management Plan (NMP). He stated that the
operation of heavy machinery could be limited to times of between
9AM-4PM. In terms of the proposed truck wash, he stated that this
type of equipment could be noisy, but could be specifically addressed in the
In terms of monitoring noise, I pointed out that the
recommended consent conditions required an annual monitoring review, and
questioned the effectiveness of this timeframe given the short 2½ year
cleanfill duration proposed. Mr Humpheson agreed, and considered that
monitoring should be undertaken either every 6-months or quarterly.
In terms of the Dyna pad foot roller that Marshall Day, the
Councils’ acoustic peer reviewer, had considered to be ‘construction
machinery’ for the purpose of noise assessment, Mr Humpheson had since
undertaken a realistic worse-case scenario and assumed it working on the site
boundary, from which point it would slowly traverse the site. In his
assessment, Mr Humpheson calculated noise levels would exceed the 50 dB LA10
limit at 199, 200 and 201 Coast Road. However, he considered that as the
use of this machinery would be infrequent, and consequently the approach he
used in his acoustic report was appropriate. Notwithstanding, Mr
Humpheson recommended limiting its use to between 9am-4pm.
The submitters from 119 Coast Road, Mr Bircham and Ms Ross,
described the current noise as ‘overwhelming’ and expressed concern
about the loss of sleep. In response, the applicant’s acoustic adviser
acknowledged that noise from the cleanfill operation will be audible from their
property, but that the level of noise near their property will be significantly
less than the District Plan noise limits: he predicted a noise level of 39 dB
LA10 at the façade of their residence. He stated that this is less
than the night-time limit of 40 dB LA10 which has been set to preserve sleep
In regard to the concerns of Ms O’Regan, Mr Humpheson
had recalculated the predicted noise level at her property boundary, and
adjusted the level from 43 to 46 dB LA10, which he noted is still less than the
daytime noise limit of 50 dB LA10 in the District Plan. In terms of
concerns about vibration, Mr Humpheson considered that there would be no
significant sources of vibration, and that the magnitude of ground-borne
vibration at the nearest residential properties would be negligible.
Addressing the concerns of Ms Moffat, Mr Humpheson stated
he has predicted a noise level at her property of 42 dB LA10, less than the
daytime noise limit of 50 dB LA10.
In terms of those types of noises that Ms Moffat and other
submitters have raised – such as tailgate banging, reversing alarms and
pumps from vac trucks, Mr Humpheson described these types of noises as having
‘special audible characteristics’ (SAC), and would be addressed
specifically in the proposed NMP. He stated that the new NMP that would
be drafted would be based on good practice guidance in managing noise with SAC.
In conclusion, Mr Humpheson said the acoustic assessment
had concluded that the level of noise effects is minor, and that the
recommended consent conditions together with the implementation of the NMP will
ensure that any adverse effects are avoided or mitigated.
While I acknowledge that, in a General Rural zoned
environment, there may be a general expectation of a greater level of noise
than would be expected in a residential or rural-residential environment, such
noise would be normally intermittent or seasonal. The proposal
would bring the cleanfill operation closer to nearby residential properties,
which have had a cleanfill operating in the vicinity since 2011. While
the expert advisers predict that noise levels at nearby residences will meet
the District Plan limit for daytime noise levels, nevertheless, the cleanfill
extension will result in local residents continuing to experience on an ongoing
basis for five and half days a week the background noise emanating from
cleanfill operations, as well as those noises that have special audible
characteristics, such as tailgate banging and reversing alarms.
I acknowledge the proposed NMP will address all noise
sources from the proposed cleanfill operation, including those with SAC, and
set out procedures and processes for avoiding or mitigating adverse noise
effects outside the site. These measures may include mechanical or
physical methods, or behavioural or good practice measures. The draft
NMP, as part of the proposed SMP, will be provided to members of the proposed
Community Liaison Group (CLG) to provide them with an opportunity to
comment. In addition, over the duration of the cleanfill operations, the
CLG will act as a conduit for local residents to provide feedback on cleanfill
operations, including noise. Ultimately, the Council will have the
ability to review the recommended consent conditions pursuant to section 128 of
the Act, in order:
review the adequacy of any plan and/or monitoring requirements, and if
necessary, amend these requirements outlined in this consent.
deal with any adverse effects on the environment that may arise from the
exercise of this consent; and which are appropriate to deal with at a later
enable consistency with any relevant District Plan(s) or any National
Environmental Standards or Regulations.
delete or amend conditions of this consent; and the addition of such new
conditions as are shown to be necessary to avoid, remedy or mitigate any
significant adverse effects on the environment.
important factor in my consideration of noise effects is the proposed short
duration of the consent – 2½ years – a period in which the
Council has committed to finding and consenting an alternative and long-term
cleanfill site. I have also taken into account the need for a cleanfill
site within Wainuiomata and the wider Hutt Valley during a period of
7.77 For these
reasons, I find that the noise from the proposed cleanfill extension would be
managed to be within acceptable levels and to be no more than minor.
Flooding and Hazard Effects
submitters (Ms Moffat, Ms O’Regan, Mr Ranstead, Mr Birkinshaw, and Mr and
Mrs O’Meara) expressed concern about establishing a cleanfill within an
area identified at risk from a 1:100 year flood event from the Wainuiomata
River. Ms Moffat cited recent examples in the South Island where former
landfills had been exposed by river or coastal erosion, creating a significant
amount of waste to litter coastlines. Submitters were concerned that
flooding would risk significant pollution into the River that could affect fish
7.79 In addition,
a statement of evidence by Mr Craig Innes, a submitter, was circulated.
Drawing on his knowledge of GIS, Mr Innes’ raised questions around the
assumptions used in the GWRC’s flood modelling and, in particular, the
assumptions used in the GIS spatial analysis and the effects of vegetation on
determining elevations in the floodplain.
7.80 In response
to Mr Innes’ evidence, Mr Rueben Ferguson, a water resources engineer,
presented evidence for the applicant at the Hearing. Mr Ferguson stated
that there is a considerable amount of conservatism built into flood
modelling. Mr Ferguson was satisfied that the proposed concrete block
wall built at the base of the proposed cleanfill extension would act as an
effective bund to protect it from potential erosion from a major flood event.
7.81 In response
to a question, Mr Ferguson stated that the intervening blackberry and other
vegetation that separated the cleanfill site from the River would act to
increase channel roughness and lower velocities as water travels that area.
7.82 Mr Rodenburg also gave
evidence on flooding, stating that the armour wall design takes into account
the velocities and depth of a 1:100-year flood, with the modelling results
showing that water will come partly up the base of the wall, but no closer than
0.5m from the top. This he stated provides some allowance for a flood event
greater than 1:100-year.
7.83 In considering
this matter, I firstly observe that flood protection is a primary function of
GWRC, which has considered the risks from flooding and granted consent. I
accept that the updated flood modelling has reduced the anticipated extent of
flooding on the site, and that the design of the proposed cleanfill extension
takes a conservative approach, and has built in a level of contingency into the
design height of the concrete block wall that would protect the base of the
cleanfill in the case a major flood event.
7.84 While I acknowledge that
there have been recent examples of where former landfills have recently been
exposed by river or coastal erosion, creating significant adverse effects, the
nature of the material within the cleanfill is different from that deposited in
7.85 Overall, in
considering the evidence before me, I find that the effects of the proposed
cleanfill extension on the risks from flooding to be no more than minor.
7.86 Considerable focus
was placed during the Hearing on the nature and effectiveness of potential
resource consent conditions, having regard to the efficacy of resource consent
conditions under the previous resource consent, given the observations of local
residents on the operation of the current cleanfill, and the nature and scale
of adverse effects that have occurred to date.
7.87 Given the issues
raised by submitters, I had to be satisfied that the recommended consent
conditions would adequately address the actual or potential adverse effects
that extending the cleanfill operation further south would have on the local
environment and local residents before I could grant consent. In
particular, the conditions had to:
Effectively manage the
potential for dust nuisance to be generated
Limit the amount of
tracking of material onto Coast Road
Provide an adequate
mechanism for residents to have an input into the development of the management
plans, and provide a two-way process for feedback during the operation of the
Effectively manage the
noise emissions from the cleanfill operation to protect local amenity values,
including regular monitoring and a management regime that can adapt if new
issues arise or existing mitigation measures need improving.
the Hearing, a number of changes to the recommended consent conditions or
additional conditions arose from the questioning of expert witnesses. To
allow sufficient time for the applicant and Council’s officers to
properly consider and refine the set of recommended consent conditions, I
established an agreed timeline for the conditions to be revised and circulated
among the parties and adjourned the hearing. The timeline allowed
submitters an opportunity to review and comment on the amended conditions: I
would like to express my appreciation for the time and effort submitters took
to respond, notwithstanding their opposition in principle to consent being
7.89 A revised
set of recommended consent conditions were duly circulated by the applicant
through the Council, including a commentary on which conditions were amended in
light of submitters’ comments, and the reasons why other suggested
changes were not adopted by the applicant.
7.90 I have
subsequently considered the recommended consent conditions, and am satisfied
that they would manage the adverse effects on the environment to be no more
than minor. In particular, the consent conditions would require –
greater restriction on the types of material to be accepted: this would prevent
the repetition of the deposition of material like plastic which were formerly
deemed acceptable in small amounts
establishment of a Community Liaison Group to provide a mechanism through which
local residents can be informed of cleanfill operations and provide feedback to
the Council on any issues arising and to review and comment on management plans
frequent monitoring, particularly of operational noise levels
independent audit process every six months, the findings of which will be
reported to the CLG
short duration of cleanfill activity of 30 months (2½ years)
preparation and approval of a Site Management Plan that includes –
Noise Management Plan, which will include specific focus on machinery or
activities with special audible characteristics
Fill Sequencing Plan that will seek to reduce the amount of
‘active’ cleanfill at any one time
Erosion and Sediment Control Plan to ensure measures are in place to minimise
the risks of erosion and sediment runoff, including the potential for a major
flooding event in the Wainuiomata River to erode the base of the fill, and
Environmental Restoration Plan to be implemented in the planting season
following the closure of the cleanfill, combined with a requirement to maintain
plants for a period of no less than three years
requirement to notify residents five days in advance of any ‘construction
activities’ (which will be defined in the NMP), and
review condition that would enable, among other reasons, a review of conditions
to address any adverse effects that are not being adequately managed.
7.91 I have
considered the applicant’s responses to the amendments suggested by
submitters, and generally accept the reasoning for the applicant to accept or
reject the suggested amendments. There are a few matters, however, I wish
to address, as I outline below.
7.92 First, however, in
regard to the submitters’ suggestion that the conditions include a
requirement for a site closure plan, I consider the intention of such a plan
will be suitably achieved by the Environmental Restoration Plan that would be
required under the recommended consent conditions. The proposed conditions
require the Environmental Restoration Plan to “ensure the site is left in
a suitable condition to enable the use of the site as a reserve in
future”. Such a condition would include being in a safe and
non-hazardous state. I also note that the Environmental Restoration Plan
is also a requirement under the conditions for the regional discharge permits,
and will be subject to approval of the Environmental Regulation section of
GWRC. Therefore, I am satisfied that there is no necessity for a separate Closure
7.93 In terms of the
condition requiring the establishment of a Community Liaison Group, submitters
suggested the purpose of the Group be listed in the condition. The
applicant accepted the suggestion in part, but preferred a short statement of
its purpose as an advice note to the condition. With respect, I agree
with the submitters that the purpose of the Group should be specified as part
of the condition, as this is best practice.
7.94 In terms of the
question as to whether the CLG should have an independent facilitator, which
the applicant has rejected, I am aware of situations in which CLG have had
independent facilitators and others where they do not. Based on the good
faith undertaken by the applicant in proposing a CLG, I accept that a
facilitator should not be required under the consent conditions.
However, I would urge the applicant to consider the use of an independent
facilitator if it becomes apparent that such a person would improve the
7.95 In reviewing the
consent conditions, I have made a number of minor changes as follows:
have amended the note to condition #3 to clarify that if new Ministry for the
Environment Guidance on cleanfills is issued, the obligation under this
condition to limit material accepted as cleanfill as specified remains in
have amended condition #17 to exclude public holidays from the hours of
operation of the cleanfill; and
have added, given the apparent aggressiveness of the weeds in this area, the
control of weeds to the obligation to maintain plants for a period of three
years following site restoration to assist in ensuring the planting is
7.96 Overall, I
find that, with the imposition of the recommended consent conditions, the
adverse effects of the proposed cleanfill extension will be minor or less than
Section 104 of the RMA sets out the matters to which a
consent authority must have regard to, subject to Part 2 of the RMA, when considering
an application for resource consent. These are:
actual and potential effects on the environment of allowing the activity (which
I have considered in Section 7 above)
measure proposed or agreed to by the applicant for the purpose of ensuring
positive effects on the environment to offset or compensate for any adverse
effects on the environment that will or may result from allowing the activity
relevant provisions of:
§ a national
§ other regulations
§ a national policy
§ the New Zealand
Coastal Policy Statement
§ a regional policy
statement or proposed regional policy statement
§ a plan or proposed
other matter the consent authority considers relevant and reasonably necessary
to determine the application.
Accordingly, I now turn to assessing the proposal against
the relevant provisions of relevant planning instruments. There was
agreement between the planners that –
the New Zealand Coastal
Policy Statement is not relevant to this resource consent application
Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to
Protect Human Health 2011 does not apply, and
there are no regulations
Collectively, the application and the s42A report provided
comprehensive assessments of the proposed cleanfill extension against the
relevant statutory provisions. The applicant’s planner, Mr Meehan,
provided evidence on the consistency of the proposed cleanfill extension with
the relevant statutory instruments. Mr Daysh also provided a
comprehensive statutory assessment, particularly in relation to the Wellington
Regional Policy Statement and the City of Lower Hutt District Plan. There
was a large measure of agreement between the planners’ assessments, and
accordingly I adopt the assessment of the two planners to avoid
repetition. I shall only focus on the key points, and any areas of
The Operative City of Lower Hutt District Plan
Rural amenity – the management of the proposed cleanfill extension
will be subject to a range of conditions that include the implementation of
management plans to maintain rural amenity, with the nature of the proposal and
its end use as a reserve aligned with maintaining the open character of the
Noise – the implementation of a Noise Management Plan will
maintain the amenity value of the area by ensuring that the adverse effects
associated with excessive noise are avoided or mitigated.
Natural hazards – the proposal is consistent with the policy to
avoid or reduce risk to people and their property from natural hazards, and to
adopt suitable engineering to reduce the vulnerability of people and property
to flood hazards.
Earthworks – the proposed cleanfill extension would implement
rehabilitation measures to mitigate and in the long term enhance visual amenity
In conclusion, I find that the proposed cleanfill extension
is generally consistent with, and not contrary to, the City of Lower Hutt
Wellington Regional Policy Statement
The WRPS sets the high level strategic policy direction for
managing the Wellington Region’s natural and physical resources.
Many of its objectives and policies focus on managing the effects of activities
and development on the natural environment, and based on my findings outlined
in Section 7 above, I find that the proposal in generally consistent with the
The only apparent area of disagreement between the planners
was in regard to whether Objective 11 and accompanying Policy 65 of the RPS
provides specific policy direction to support the proposed cleanfill
extension. These provisions seek to reduce the quantity of waste
disposed. Mr Meehan asserted that the cleanfill extension would assist in
preventing cleanfill material being deposited at a landfill, thereby extending
the life of the local landfills. To this end, I note the explanatory
section in the WRPS regarding waste includes the following statement:
The amount of waste needs to be reduced to ensure
potentially valuable resources are used efficiently, reduce the need to develop
new landfills and extend the life of existing landfills. Cleanfills are
one way to extend the life of landfills by diverting clean inert waste from the
landfill waste stream.(page 34)
While I was not convinced that the proposed cleanfill
extension would, in itself, act to reduce waste per se, it would not be
contrary to that policy direction and I would agree that the proposed cleanfill
extension is consistent with the WRPS statement about cleanfills.
The resource consent application provided an assessment of
the proposed cleanfill extension against the objectives and policies of the
Proposed Natural Resources Plan (PNRP), and concluded that the proposal is
consistent with the relevant provisions. The decision report of the GWRC,
in granting the discharge permits, also considered the proposal to be
consistent with the policy direction of the PNRP. I concur and adopt the
findings of these assessments.
National Policy Statements
National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity
(2016) requires local authorities to monitor and plan for housing development,
particularly in areas identified as high growth. Wellington is an
identified high growth area, and it is evident that there a strong level of
development in the Hutt Valley, including Wainuiomata. The development of
housing often generates a certain level of cleanfill waste. The proposed
cleanfill extension is therefore generally consistent with the policy direction
of the NPSUDC to support urban development in the Region.
National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management
(2014, amended 2017) sets out the objectives and policies for freshwater
management under the Resource Management Act 1991. The resource consent
applications for the proposed cleanfill extension were assessed against this
NPS by the reporting officers for GWRC, who concluded that the applications to
be generally consistent with its objectives and policies. This conclusion
was endorsed by the Council’s reporting planner, Mr Daysh.
I find that the proposal is generally consistent with the
relevant National Policy Statements.
When considering an application for a resource consent and
any submissions received, my assessment is subject to Part 2 of the Act, which
The purpose of the Act
Matters of national
importance that the consent authority must recognise and provide for when
determining a resource consent (section 6)
Other matters the
consent authority must have particular regard to (section 7), and
The principles of the
Treaty of Waitangi that must be taken into account (section 8).
The purpose of the Act as set out in section 5 is to
promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources while
managing the use, development, and protection of natural and physical resources
in a way, or at a rate, which enables people and communities to provide for
their social, economic and cultural wellbeing and for their health and safety
while avoiding, remedying, or mitigating any adverse effects of activities on
The Council’s reporting planner, Mr Daysh, considers
that, while cleanfill activities are not specifically provided for under the
District Plan, they are managed as a discretionary activities for which there
is clear and coherent guidance provided by the objectives and policies of the
District Plan. He also considered that the objectives and policies were
prepared having regard to giving effect to Part 2 of the Act.
Accordingly, he considered that a detailed evaluation of Part 2 matters would
not add anything to his evaluative exercise and his final recommendation to
grant consent. However, for completeness he undertook a brief assessment
of the proposal against Part 2.
I concur with Mr Daysh’s analysis, noting that the
objectives and policies of the District Plan provide an overarching and
coherent set of direction to guide the consideration of discretionary
activities in respect of the range of environmental effects that the activity
Nevertheless, for the sake of completeness, based on my
findings in relation to the assessment of effects on the environment, I find
the proposal promotes
the sustainable management of natural and physical resources as it is a
sustainable use of resources on site already established as a cleanfill, with
the effects of the activity on the environment avoided or mitigated to the
extent that it can (s5)
the proposed cleanfill
extension would avoid exacerbating risks from natural hazards (s6h)
the proposed cleanfill
extension represents an efficient use of a site already used for cleanfill
amenity values would be
in the longer term, the
proposed activity would maintain and enhance the quality of the environment and
amenity values (s7f)
In terms of taking into account the principles of the
Treaty of Waitangi, I am satisfied that the proposal is not contrary to section
8 of the Act. The subject site is not adjacent to any land or water that
is subject to a Statutory Acknowledgement under a Treaty Settlement Act that
would warrant notification of the application to the Port Nicholson Settlement
Trust or Ngāti Toa. The site is not identified in the District Plan
as containing any wāhi tapu or sites of significance to Māori.
Overall, I find that the proposal to be consistent with
Part 2 of the Act.
Counsel’s legal submissions outlined the statutory
context and Council obligations under the Ngāti Toa Rangatira Claims
Settlement Act 2014 in regard to statutory acknowledgements. Ms Manohar
evaluated whether the application site could be deemed to be
‘within’ or ‘adjacent’ to the area of Cook Strait
identified as a statutory area. She submitted that it is neither
‘within’ nor ‘adjacent to’ Cook Strait, drawing on case
law in regard to the meaning of adjacent:
In the present case, it is submitted that Cook Strait
is not 'adjacent to' the application site. It is approximately 20
kilometres from the site to Cook Strait, as the crow files, and so is not
'near' or 'close' or 'neighbouring' when comparing it to the application site. [paragraph 18]
Ms Manohar also submitted that the proposed cleanfill
extension would not ‘directly affect’ Cook Strait, noting that:
A purposive reading of the words 'directly
affected' in context suggests that for the Cook Strait to be considered
directly affected by the cleanfill, there must be effects on it and those
effects must be sufficiently proximate and appreciable. It is submitted
that there is no evidence before the Council that suggests there are effects on
Cook Strait, let alone evidence that they are proximate and appreciable.[paragraph 20]
No other matters were identified to me.
That, as an Independent Commissioner, acting under
delegated authority from Council and pursuant to sections 104, 104B and 108 of
the Resource Management Act 1991, CONSENT IS GRANTED to resource consent
application RM190050, subject to the conditions contained in Appendix 1 to the
Discretionary Activity resource consent application made by Tonkin and Taylor
Ltd on behalf of Hutt City Council for the expansion of the Wainuiomata
Cleanfill at 130 Coast Road, Wainuiomata.
This decision is made for the reasons discussed above and,
in summary, because:
The activity that is
granted is unlikely to have any significant adverse effects on the environment
provided the conditions imposed are fully implemented;
Subject to the
imposition of appropriate conditions, the activity is consistent with the
provisions of the operative City of Lower Hutt District Plan; and
The activity will
promote the sustainable management purpose and principles of the Resource
Management Act 1991.
The resource consent conditions are set out in Appendix
Independent Hearing Commissioner
Dated this 18th day of December 2019
Appendix 1 –
Conditions Of Consent
That the proposal is carried out
substantially in accordance with the information and approved plans submitted
with the application and held on file at the council.
That the consent holder keeps a
copy of this decision on site when work starts and makes it available on
request to council staff.
The consent holder shall ensure
that cleanfilling is undertaken in accordance with the publication A Guide
to the Management of Cleanfills by the Ministry for the Environment (2002),
or any superseding guidance document released and ratified by the Ministry for
Only material such as clay, soil, rock, concrete, dry asphaltic
concrete, glass, ceramics, tiles or brick that are free of combustible or
putrescible components or hazardous substances or materials likely to create a
hazardous leachate by means of biological breakdown, shall be deposited within
the cleanfill site.
considered to meet the above definition are outlined in Table 4.1 of the
publication A Guide to the Management of Cleanfills by Ministry for the
It is advised that the consent holder should be
aware of the new Waste Management Institute New Zealand Guidelines which are in
the stages of being finalised and which Ministry for the Environment are
involved with. These guidelines may replace the Ministry for the
Environment Guidelines for the management of cleanfills. This would not
affect the obligation under Condition 3(a) and (b).
Prior to accepting cleanfill
material from off-site, the consent holder shall submit for approval to the
Team Leader Resource Consents, Hutt City Council, a Site Management Plan (SMP)
in accordance with Ministry for the Environment’s ‘A Guide to Management of
Cleanfills’ dated January
2002 or superseding guidance documents. The SMP shall outline the
proposed operation of the cleanfill, including the procedures and controls to
manage the site, and at a minimum shall include descriptions of:
Identification of responsible persons;
Material acceptance criteria in accordance with the Ministry for
the Environment’s guidelines;
Cleanfill acceptance and rejection procedures to ensure that only
acceptable material is accepted to site (including identification of any
electronic procedures for the assessment of sites that may contain contaminated
material, and procedures relating to visual inspections of loads);
Procedures to record the nature and volume of material received
Procedures to record the nature and origin of material rejected
from the site;
Operational procedures to manage the staging of cleanfill
deposition (including the preparation of a Fill Sequencing and Progressive
of and procedures for controlling the acceptance, drying process and subsequent
placement of hydrovac material;
for managing the generation of dust on-site;
description of activities which are considered to be construction rather than
Erosion and Sediment Control Plan;
taken to avoid vehicles and machinery dropping dirt on the road as they leave
the site, including the procedures required to ensure trucks appropriately
utilise the wheel-wash on-site;
to maintain traffic safety at the entrance;
undertaken to prevent members of the public from dumping rubbish at the site;
contents of the Noise Management Plan (NMP) prepared under Condition ,
which identifies procedures and practices to mitigate and monitor operational
and construction noise;
of monitoring proposed to ensure compliance with consent conditions; and
relating to the receipt of complaints from the public or regulator on any
matter relating to operations.
All works on
site must be in accordance with the SMP and any subsequent amendments to the
SMP must be to the satisfaction of the Team Leader Resource Consents, Hutt City
It is understood that the consent holder will
submit a Site Management Plan which will also incorporate an Erosion and
Sediment Control Plan and a Fill Sequencing and Progressive Stabilisation Plan
(both required under this condition and under the conditions for the discharge
permits), Noise Management Plan (required under condition 15) and an
Environmental Restoration Plan (required under condition 23).
Prior to accepting cleanfill
material from off-site the consent holder shall invite local residents and any
other interested members of the community to participate in a Community Liaison
Group (CLG). This group will thereafter meet on a three-monthly basis
following the commencement of the consent (or at a timeframe otherwise agreed
by the parties involved) and shall give the opportunity for residents and
Council representatives to discuss operations and environmental remediation at
the Cleanfill. Invitations will be sent to CLG members at least 4 weeks
prior to suggested meeting days. The minutes from these meetings shall be
provided to the Team Leader, Resource Consents within three (3) working days of
the meeting occurring. The primary purpose of the CLG is to
provide a mechanism for the consent holder and community members to meet in
person and discuss operations at the site. This includes, but is not
Providing comment on the draft SMP as specified under condition 6
Informing CLG participants of construction activities, as
required under condition 14
Consultation on the draft Environmental Restoration Plan, as
required under condition 23
Review of the findings of the independent audit as required under
Informing CLG participants of any operational changes at the
Providing feedback to the consent holder about the operation of
Prior to submitting the SMP to
Hutt City Council for approval, the consent holder shall provide a draft copy
of the SMP to members of the CLG and submitters to the Stage 3 consent, and
provide them with the opportunity to provide comment upon the document.
Where comments have not been accepted the reasons why shall be included with
the submission of the SMP to HCC. CLG members and submitters shall be
provided a minimum period of five (5) working days to review and provide
Prior to accepting cleanfill
material from off-site the consent holder shall seal the access road internal
to the site between the site gate and the site entrance kiosk shown in Drawing
84466.005-20 attached in Appendix D of the AEE.
Within three (3) months of the
Stage 3 operation commencing the consent holder shall install a portable
wheel-wash on-site. This wash should be appropriately sized to cater for
the heavy vehicles visiting site, should be of a pressure washing variety and
should be designed to recycle washwater. Prior to the installation all
practicable measures shall be undertaken to avoid unreasonable material from
being tracked onto Coast Road. In the event material tracks onto Coast
Road, it must be swept clear within 12 hours of being deposited.
No more than 75 trucks per day
shall be permitted to access the site for the purpose of depositing cleanfill
The consent holder will ensure
that access to the site for the purpose of cleanfill deposition is granted only
to approved commercial operators.
Within one month of the
completion of each sub-stage of the Stage 3 filling (as identified in the fill
sequencing plan identified in the SMP), the consent holder shall ensure that
the particular sub-stage is progressively stabilised (i.e. via
hydroseeding or similar mechanism). The stage should then be monitored
and maintained until 80% grass cover has been established.
Noise from any cleanfill
deposition activities (excluding emergency and construction works) shall not
exceed the following levels when measured at or within the notional boundary of
any dwelling existing at the time the consent is granted:
Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays) 7.30 am to 5.00 pm –
50 dB LAeq
Saturday (excluding public holidays) 7.30 am to 12.00 pm – 50
All other times - 40 dB LAeq
10.00 pm to 7.00 am (all days) – 75 dB LAfmax
For the purpose of monitoring all sound levels
shall be measured in accordance with NZS 6801:2008 “Acoustics –
Measurement of environmental sound” and be assessed in accordance with
NZS 6802:2008 “Acoustics – Environmental Noise”.
The notional boundary is defined as a line 20
metres from the façade of a dwelling or the legal boundary of the site
where this is closer to the dwelling.
Site construction activities shall be assessed (and
measured where appropriate) in accordance with NZS 6803: 1999 “Acoustics
- Construction Noise”.
A description of construction activities will
be included within the SMP.
The consent holder shall notify
the Team Leader, Resource Consents, Hutt City Council and members of the
CLG of any construction activities taking place and their expected duration, at
least five (5) working days prior commencement of those activities.
The Noise Management Plan (NMP)
prepared by Tonkin and Taylor Ltd (dated November 2017) shall be updated within
two (2) months of approval of this resource consent. Any subsequent
changes to the operation of the cleanfill relevant to noise generation will
require a review of the NMP and any amendments shall be sent to the Team Leader
Resource Consents for approval. The ongoing operation of the cleanfill
shall be in accordance with the approved NMP.
The Consent holder shall
undertake noise monitoring of the cleanfill within 30 days of work commencing
within Stage 3 and thereafter at three (3) month internals unless otherwise
agreed by the Team Leader Resource Consents, Hutt City Council. All noise
monitoring results shall be made available to Hutt City Council within two
weeks of completion of each monitoring visit.
The cleanfill shall only operate
within the hours of Monday to Friday 7.30am – 5.00pm and Saturday 7.30am
– 12.00pm, excluding public holidays (except where deposition of fill is
required outside these hours/days for emergency civil works).
The consent holder shall ensure
that the operation is managed in a manner to ensure that no dust nuisance
occurs beyond the boundary of the site. Measures for control will be
outlined in the SMP, and must include the presence of a watercart (or similar
water source suitable for managing the generation of dust) on-site at all times
that filling occurs.
That if the consent holder finds
taonga (a thing of tangible or intangible value treasured in Māori
culture) on the site, the consent holder must contact iwi representatives, the
Heritage New Zealand and the Council within 24 hours. All work in the
area must stop immediately and may not resume until iwi representatives and
Council staff have carried out a site inspection and the Council gives its
The final batter slopes shall be
designed and certified by a suitably qualified geotechnical engineer and
certification shall be provided to the Team Leader Resource Consent within
three (3) months of the cleanfill reaching capacity.
The consent holder shall manage
cleanfill activities to generally avoid the placement of concrete and building
rubble and other material not easily compacted in the part of the site affected
by the 1:100 year floodway (as shown in Appendix D of the AEE), unless
appropriate rock armouring is installed on the southern edge of the fill area.
By 19 June 2022, cleanfilling
shall cease, with restoration of the site in accordance with the Environmental
Restoration Plan to commence during the next planting season following approval
of the Environmental Restoration Plan.
That the consent holder shall
submit an Environmental Restoration Plan for Stage 3 of the cleanfill to the
Team Leader Resource Consents for approval within three (3) months of the
cleanfill reaching capacity or by the lapse date, whichever is sooner.
The environmental restoration plan shall include measures to grass or landscape
any exposed areas and ensure the site is left in a suitable condition to enable
use of the site as a reserve in future. The plan will have regard to the
guidance prepared by GWRC titled ‘Restoration Planting – A Guide
to Planning Restoration Planting Projects in the Wellington Region’
and will be informed through consultation with the CLG.
The consent holder shall control
weeds and maintain the plants in accordance with the procedures set out in the
Environmental Restoration Plan required by Condition (23) for a duration of
three (3) years.
The consent holder shall engage
an independent audit of the site on a six (6) monthly basis (following the
exercise of this consent) to ensure that the site is operating in accordance
with the conditions of consent. All costs of this audit shall be
borne but the consent holder. The consent holder shall invite the Team
Leader Resource Consents and representatives from the CLG (with a minimum of
ten (10) working days’ notice of the scheduled date) to be in attendance
to observe the audit process. The findings of this audit shall be
provided to Team Leader Resource Consents and the CLG.
Hutt City Council may review any
or all conditions of this consent by giving notice of its intention to do so
pursuant to section 128 of the Resource Management Act 1991, on a six monthly
basis following the commencement of this consent, for any of the following
To review the adequacy of any plan and/or monitoring
requirements, and if necessary, amend these requirements outlined in this
To deal with any adverse effects on the environment that may
arise from the exercise of this consent; and which are appropriate to deal with
at a later stage.
To enable consistency with any relevant District Plan(s) or any
National Environmental Standards or Regulations.
The review of conditions shall allow for the deletion or
amendment of conditions of this consent; and the addition of such new
conditions as are shown to be necessary to avoid, remedy or mitigate any
significant adverse effects on the environment.
For the purposes of these conditions the
“exercise of the consent” is deemed to be once the works authorised
by this consent have commenced.