New Plymouth District Council has withdrawn its funding for the composting company Remediation NZ.

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The New Plymouth District Council is withdrawing its funding for Remediation NZ, a contentious composting company that has accumulated 20,000 tonnes of hazardous waste at its Uruti facility.

The corporation is looking to renew its permissions to discharge into the air, soil, and sea.

The council intended to use the firm to handle its domestic food waste collection.

According to David Langford, the council’s community manager of planning and development, the council’s application endorsing Remediation NZ was made two years earlier when the council was still informed of small problems at the location.

“We supported a regional organic waste processing facility as this was in line with our Zero Waste vision. But we were also clear that our support was conditional on the facility meeting environmental best practice standards and that any environmental impacts were minimised and properly managed.”

Langford said more serious environmental concerns had been raised about the site over the past two years and it was clear the expected standards were not being met which was a major factor behind the council decision to transport food waste to Hampton Downs.

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“As kaitiaki, we set high standards for contractors and suppliers when it comes to managing our environmental impact. Because of the serious environmental concerns we have, we no longer support the renewal of Remediation NZ’s consent.”

Langford said funding had been included in the draft 10-year plan to build a new regional organic waste processing facility.

“This will reduce the transport costs for our ratepayers and ensure the facility is built and operated to the highest environmental standards.”

In the meantime, the district council is working with the Taranaki Regional Council to formally withdraw its support for Remediation NZ’s consents renewals.

Remediation NZ has a history of non-compliance with consents and was the subject of eight incident reports, three abatement and six infringement notices between October 2020 and 31 January this year.

More than 20 public submissions were received on the consents renewal, 13 for and 10 against.

Supporters other than the New Plymouth District Council include companies such as Fonterra, Tegel, Waste Management and EnviroWaste, which argued Remediation NZ provided a sustainable option for waste disposal not available anywhere else in Taranaki.

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Local residents, Ngāti Mutunga, oil and gas industry watchdogs and environmental groups were among those who submitted against the consents renewals.

The company has argued that it dealt with difficult waste streams that did not “just disappear”, adhered to a strict regulatory regime and was working to improve its systems and remediate the stockpiled waste.

A Taranaki Regional Council report prepared ahead of a consents hearing last month recommended renewing the consents under a slew of conditions.

The hearing’s findingis due at the end of April.


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