Dis­carded tyres will mean road clo­sure

The New Zealand Herald - - NEWS - Phil Tay­lor

A ru­ral Auck­land road is to be closed so con­trac­tors can re­trieve hun­dreds of tyres dumped along its fringe.

Re­triev­ing the tyres is ex­pected to take a few days.

The huge il­le­gal dump­ing of tyres off the side of Twi­light Rd, Brookby, comes as Auck­land Coun­cil seeks ev­i­dence to pros­e­cute those who dis­carded leak­ing oil drums on road­sides in two re­cent in­ci­dents.

In Jan­u­ary, 28 bar­rels con­tain­ing used oil were dumped along Piha Rd, and later the same month Mayor Phil Goff found a dozen sim­i­lar oil drums dis­carded on an Ard­more road­side on his drive to work.

Goff told the Her­ald there was rea­son to sus­pect the same peo­ple were re­spon­si­ble.

Those in­ci­dents and the dis­cov­ery by the Her­ald of tyres tipped into bush off Twi­light Rd ap­pear to have been done by com­mer­cial op­er­a­tors.

Goff has de­clared him­self to be on the warpath and wants the coun­cil to lift its game and ex­am­ples made of the worst of­fend­ers.

“Il­le­gal road­side rub­bish dump­ing has blighted our city, harmed our en­vi­ron­ment and bur­dened ratepay­ers with the costs of clean-up. I’m sick and tired of it, Auck­lan­ders are sick and tired of it and I’m call­ing on mem­bers of the public to help us tackle the prob­lem.

“I’m call­ing on our com­mu­ni­ties not to ac­cept the ir­re­spon­si­ble ac­tions of a few in­di­vid­u­als and cow­boy com­mer­cial out­fits, and to re­port il­le­gal dump­ing.”

The coun­cil’s gen­eral man­ager of waste so­lu­tions, Ian Stup­ple, said in­ves­ti­ga­tions were con­tin­u­ing into the re­cent spate of oil drums be­ing dumped.

Stup­ple said its in­ves­ti­ga­tors were fol­low­ing “a num­ber of strong lines of in­quiry” but the coun­cil still wanted to hear from any­one with in­for­ma­tion. They should ring the coun­cil’s call cen­tre on 09 301 0101 and quote ref­er­ence INR60205215.

Re­mov­ing the tyres dumped off Twi­light Rd is ex­pected to take days and may be­gin Mon­day. Ab­seil­ing equip­ment is ex­pected to be needed.

If in good con­di­tion, the tyres would go to a pro­ces­sor to be re­cy­cled, oth­er­wise to a land­fill.

The mayor re­cently an­nounced new spend­ing of $200,000 for a hot­line num­ber (0800 NO DUMP) to re­port il­le­gal dump­ing in­ci­dents, three more en­force­ment staff (bring­ing the to­tal to nine), and dou­bling the num­ber of ded­i­cated CCTV cam­eras to 14.

Be­cause of the na­ture of some of the dump­ing, such as leak­ing oil drums, a charge un­der the Re­source Man­age­ment Act, which car­ries max­i­mum penal­ties of $300,000 and two years’ jail, may be pos­si­ble, Goff ear­lier told the Her­ald.

But gath­er­ing suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence was dif­fi­cult. The coun­cil brought only two pros­e­cu­tions last year un­der the Lit­ter Act 1979, which pro­vides for fines of up to $30,000 for a com­pany and $5000 for an in­di­vid­ual. The dif­fi­culty in get­ting suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence and the cost of tak­ing a pros­e­cu­tion through the courts meant care­ful thought had to be given, a coun­cil source said.

“A ve­hi­cle reg­is­tra­tion may not be enough.”

Goff has asked staff to ex­plore what would be re­quired to make own­ers of ve­hi­cles in­volved in il­le­gal dump­ing strictly li­able, as is the case with speed cam­era fines when the owner is un­able to iden­tify who was driv­ing at the time. The av­er­age Auck­land house­hold sends about 144kg to land­fill each year, most through the weekly col­lec­tion. The coun­cil could not waive land­fill fees as a way of pos­si­bly dis­cour­ag­ing il­le­gal dump­ing be­cause land­fills are al­most all pri­vately owned. Clean­ing up il­le­gally dumped rub­bish cost Auck­land ratepay­ers more than $1 mil­lion last year.

Pic­ture / Phil Tay­lor

Re­mov­ing the tyres dumped off Twi­light Rd, Brookby, is ex­pected to take days and may be­gin Mon­day.

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