$60,000 in fines for illegal waste disposal
20 February 2013
A Rotorua man has been fined a total of $30,000 for his role in the dumping and burning of demolition waste on a Te Manu Road property.
In a joint prosecution by Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Rotorua District Council, Raymond Keith Fleming was fined in Tauranga District Court this week for unlawfully allowing disposal of demolition waste from Rotorua Hospital without a resource consent and burning prohibited waste from demolition work. The rubbish included plastic, tyres and treated timber.
In February 2012 Bay of Plenty Regional Council received complaints that the defendant was unlawfully depositing waste from Rotorua Hospital demolition work onto the property.
A Regional Council officer went to the hospital and observed waste being loaded onto a Waikato Demolition truck, then followed the truck to the Te Manu Road property. The waste included concrete, reinforcing steel, treated timber, polythene, plastic piping and fibreglass insulation. The officer later observed a large amount of smoke coming from open burning.
In a joint enforcement operation, staff from Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Rotorua District Council later found one site at the Te Manu Road property for concrete dumping and one site for demolition waste, which included electronic equipment, lino, insulation material, cladding, treated timber, green waste, buried polystyrene, records from the hospital and other materials.
Notes at the offices of Waikato Demolition’s head office detailed 28 rubbish loads in a two week period.
The defendant said he didn’t think he required consents, and that he had a fire permit from Rotorua District Council to burn rubbish.
Judge Robert Wolff imposed a fine of $30, 000 on Fleming, allowing 25 percent discount for mitigating factors – 20 percent for an early guilty plea and a five percent discount for Fleming’s remorse and remedial work.
This followed the sentencing of Fleming’s co-offender, Waikato Demolition, in December 2012. Waikato Demolition was the demolition contractor that had taken waste materials from Rotorua Hospital to the Te Manu Road site, and was fined $29,400 for its role in the offending.
Regional Council Pollution Prevention Manager Nick Zaman said the total fines imposed for the illegal waste disposal were $60,000, and highlighted how seriously the courts were now treating illegal waste disposal.
“In Mr Fleming’s case the motive for illegal acceptance and disposal of waste was clearly financial gain. Mr Fleming had undercut the price for disposal at the local authorised landfill (which had the correct consents and processes in place to deal with the waste) and by doing this, was cheating the community and businesses that did the right thing.
“It is important that anyone involved in waste disposal or demolition work ensures they are disposing of waste lawfully,” Mr Zaman said.
Rotorua District Council’s Planning Manager Liam Dagg said the two successful prosecutions highlighted the collaborative approach the District and Regional Councils were prepared to take to protect Rotorua’s environment.
“They should be seen as a warning that anyone flouting environmental law will find themselves before the Environment Court. It’s clear from these successful prosecutions that the court takes a very dim view of these types of offences and is prepared to deal decisively with offenders.”