A formal request from Waste Management New Zealand (WMNZ) that sought to have their 1000-hectare Dome Valley site recognised as a ‘landfill precinct’ in the Unitary Plan has been declined.
The formal plan change request, known as PC42, was to identify the site as the ‘Auckland Regional Landfill Precinct’ and introduce new rules specific to future landfill activity into Auckland’s planning rulebook.
Today’s decision to decline the plan change request was made by the same independent commissioners who earlier this year approved WMNZ’s resource consent application on the same site.
The decision to approve the resource consent application to construct and operate a specific landfill is not affected and does not change. The resource consent decision has since been appealed to the Environment Court by eight parties.
The two different decisions are allowed for as they relate to two standalone planning processes.
The applications were processed together to ensure efficiencies were delivered and so public submitters were easily able to be involved in both processes.
The five independent commissioners who formed the hearing panel for these applications made the decisions after hearing six weeks of evidence from the applicant (WMNZ), submitters, mana whenua and over 20 Auckland Council specialists.
The panel states in their decision that the precinct would have given an unacceptable signal that the site is generally appropriate for landfills going forward, and that they think existing Unitary Plan rules are more appropriate for the site.
The panel’s full rationale can be found in their decision document now live on Auckland Council’s website here.
The decision released today (10 September) marks the beginning of a 30-working day appeal period for submitters and WMNZ.
The appeal period allows the applicant and submitters an opportunity to appeal the decision to the Environment Court should they not agree with the commissioner’s decision to grant the resource consent.