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To: Chief Executives and Elected Members of Waikato Regional Council and Waipā District Council

Climate Change Chaos: Don't burn Waipā

We urge Waikato Regional Council and Waipā District Council to say ‘NO’ to a waste-to-energy incinerator in Te Awamutu.

We call on the Waikato Regional Council to decline the resource consent application by Global Contracting Solutions Limited to:
1. discharge toxins into the air;
2. fill in the floodplain to build the waste-to-energy-incinerator;
3. discharge toxic stormwater to the Mangapiko stream;

And, that the Waipā District Council decline the resource consent application for a change in land use by Global Contracting Solutions Limited (GCS) for the purposes of building a waste-to-energy incinerator at 401 Racecourse Road, Te Awamutu, Aotearoa New Zealand.

Failing that, both Waikato Regional Council and Waipā District Council choose to publicly notify the resource consent applications so that Te Awamutu and the wider community are consulted and have the opportunity to find out more information and provide feedback.

In addition, we request that:
1. Waikato Regional Council require that the consenting process extends beyond emissions to air to also include discharge to land and water - because we know that toxicants will be produced in the processes being described by GCS and potentially released into our waterways and soils.
2. Waikato Regional Council identifies the lack of alignment of the resource consent applications with:
a. their Regional Plan policy 6.1.5.1, environmental education, Council states it will use environmental education to help the community understand the types of adverse effects on air quality which includes incinerators
b. their Council’s Waste Strategic Action Plan 2020-2025, which goals include accelerate transitioning to a circular economy in the Waikato region and working together towards a zero-waste region. A waste-to-energy-incinerator is the direct opposite of promoting a circular economy.
3. Waipā District Council identify the lack of alignment with their Waste Management and Minimisation Plan 2017-2023 and Waipā Waste Strategy 2017-2035.
4. Waikato Regional Council and the Waipā District Council obtain a public health expert assessment of the proposed waste-to-energy incinerator before it is given consent to proceed.

Why is this important?

Incinerators Pollute Our Air, Land and Water

Waste-to-energy incinerators produce outputs in the form of air emissions, ash, and liquid effluent that are all highly contaminated with toxic substances.

Incinerator toxins falling back to land are regularly washed into waterways where they combine with leachate from hazardous waste landfills. These contaminants poison fish and other aquatic life as they flow through our streams and rivers into our harbours and eventually into our oceans. These toxins have the potential to enter our food chain at every stage of their journey to the sea.

The burning of plastics, tyres and household rubbish is more polluting than coal as a source of electricity. This incinerator threatens Aotearoa New Zealand’s wider efforts to decarbonise the entire energy sector.

Environmental impact from this waste-to-energy incinerator:
- Te Awamutu would become a net waste importer. In 2020-2021, the Waipā District sent 27,000 tonnes of rubbish to landfill. This is approximately 74 tonnes/per day. This application would allow for up to 480 tonnes of waste per day to be burnt. This means, at a minimum, GCS could import up to 406 tonnes of additional waste into the community per day. Te Awamutu would be exposed to toxic emissions related to the burning of other regions’ rubbish.
- Generate approximately 23 tonnes of toxic ash per day, including 2 tonnes of highly contaminated fly ash. This extremely toxic material will need to be dumped in special hazardous waste landfills.
- Emit cancer-causing dioxins and furans, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury and particulate matter that would impact human health as well as contaminate the surrounding land and Mangapiko stream that is immediately next to the proposed site.
- Have a carbon footprint many times greater than the same amount of waste being sent to landfill - there is 150 kilo tons per year of CO equivalent (CO2e) from the combustion itself.
- Incinerators release greenhouse gases - for each tonne of waste burnt, up to 1.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide is produced. This will impact on Aotearoa New Zealand’s carbon footprint and progress towards achieving the targets agreed to in the Paris Agreement.

Effects on the local Te Awamutu community
The waste-to-energy incinerator:
- will run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year
- be right next door to a residential neighbourhood and schools, and be situated almost entirely in a floodplain area
- will effect the health and well-being of residents living in the vicinity of the waste-to-energy incinerator
- will use Racecourse Road as the access point for all of the rubbish trucks, this road is lined with residential houses on one side of the street meaning an increase in noise and vibration from the increase in traffic and trucks delivering rubbish to the waste-to-energy incinerator
- will expose residents to odour nuisance and cancer-causing dioxins released into the air
- will endanger the wider community by increasing impacts of climate change and taking Aotearoa New Zealand further away from the climate change targets it needs to achieve
- will source municipal solid waste from the region, this means Te Awamutu could become a dumping ground for waste from as far north as Hampton Downs and as far South as Taupo
- will be burning tyres that will be sourced from all around Aotearoa New Zealand
- may adversely affect land-values of neighbouring properties
- be the first waste-to-energy incinerator in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Incinerators are being shut down around the world - Europe closed its last mixed solid waste-fed plant in Germany (the Burgau plant) in 2015 due to climate and safety considerations. Denmark plans to cut its incinerator capacity by 30% (closing 7 incinerators) over the next decade, otherwise they can't meet their climate change targets. Other plants are failing due to technical/engineering issues. In February two further plants in the United Kingdom alone closed due to technical failure.

In order to deliver an adequate return on investment for waste-to-energy incinerators, a guaranteed specific volume of continual waste is needed for efficient operation. This directly undermine local and national efforts to minimise waste by ‘locking in’ waste production.

CONCLUSION

It is hard to overstate what a disastrous proposal this is.

Central government has not been willing to help communities to stop these dangerous polluting proposals. Collective action is our only avenue to keep incinerators out of Aotearoa New Zealand. Please take a few minutes to share this petition today - because your actions do make a difference to the decision-making process.

Incinerators destroy the progress we have already made. While we accept that waste is a problem, we know that incinerators are not the answer. Regenerate not incinerate, to create jobs, and invigorate a zero waste circular economy.

To help achieve this goal, we hope you will join us in opposing the waste-to-energy incinerator proposal.

This is conforming to Climate Change Chaos - further supporting more Oil and Gas extraction and promoting pollution. Waipā needs less archaic colonial waste structures of incineration, but leadership and investment in Waste for a cleaner Waipā.

For further information, please join our Facebook group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/1002070993783725.

Ka ora te whenua, ka ora te tangata - when the land is well the people are well.

How it will be delivered

This is a transparent public petition, supporters' names will be made available to validate full consent of supporting the petition.

401 Racecourse Road, Te Awamutu 3800, New Zealand

Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL

Updates

2022-08-10 02:17:38 +1200

10 signatures reached