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Backyard Burning Harder In Whangarei From Dec

Date: 27 November, 2008

Backyard Burning Harder In Whangarei From Dec

New air quality rules mean burning backyard waste will be effectively banned in urban Whangarei from Monday (subs: Monday 01 December).

Changes to the Northland Regional Council’s Regional Air Quality Plan take effect on 01 December and mean anyone wanting to burn waste at urban Whangarei properties smaller than one hectare will need to apply for resource consent.

People breaching the new rules risk instant fines ranging from $300 to $1000 and/or prosecution.

However, Paul Baynham, the Regional Council’s Air Quality Management Specialist, stresses the new rules do not apply to BBQs, hangi or umu.

The area covered by the new rules includes Onerahi (to Grahamtown Rd), Maunu (to just before Pompallier Estate Drive), Tikipunga (to just past Whangarei Falls) and Kamo (to just past Springs Flat).

Monday’s changes will also make burning on all other private land elsewhere in Northland a ‘permitted activity’ – meaning a consent is not needed subject to conditions to ensure the burning does not adversely affect adjoining landowners.

Mr Baynham pointed out that other restrictions on rural fires may also be imposed by other organisations throughout the year, for instance the Department of Conservation and District Councils, for fire safety reasons.

He says irrespective of the new Regional Council rules, people need to remember an existing total ban on burning of a number of materials still applies.

“It’s already illegal to burn rubber tyres, coated metal wires, timber treated with copper, chromium or arsenic, plastic containers, hazardous substances (or their containers) vehicle parts and oil.”

Mr Baynham says burning and smoke nuisance make up the single largest source of complaints – roughly a quarter of all those the NRC fields across the entire region.

“We literally receive hundreds of calls a year about this issue and it’s important that complaints about smoke nuisance are reported to the Regional Council - not the Fire Service. This allows Fire Service staff to concentrate on fires and other emergencies that pose a risk to people or property.”

Mr Baynham says although people do have an option to apply for resource consent to burn backyard waste in urban Whangarei from Monday, they will have to meet a number of conditions first, including securing written consent from all surrounding neighbours.

“The whole intent of these changes to Council’s Air Quality Plan is to try to stop nuisance and adverse health effects from backyard fire smoke in Whangarei’s built-up areas.”

“Burning of unwanted green and other waste is currently responsible for about nine percent of Whangarei city’s annual air pollution and discharges about 52 tonnes of inhaleable soot and 270 tonnes of carbon monoxide into Whangarei’s air.“

Mr Baynham says the Council will initially trial a $50 (GST exclusive) fee to process backyard burning consent applications. However, where possible it would be encouraging people to compost or mulch unwanted green material or take it to the Whangarei District Council’s Re:Sort refuse transfer station.

Information on the new rules can be found at on the Council’s website at www.nrc.govt.nz/backyardburning


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