September 14, 2012
Burning demolition waste leads to fine
A Tai Tapu man has been found guilty on three charges of breaching the Resource Management Act by burning demolition
waste at his semi-rural property near Christchurch.
Peter Wayne McKenzie appeared before Judge P R Kellar on 7 August at Christchurch District Court and was found guilty of
burning demolition waste including treated timber and rubber tyres, allowing the discharge of contaminants into the air
as well as disregarding an abatement notice specifically prohibiting the activity.
He was fined $12,000 and ordered to pay costs to Environment Canterbury of $2,842.10 along with court and solicitor’s
costs of $245.89.
“On the whole those involved in the disposal of demolition waste are doing what they should,” says Environment
Canterbury Resource Management Director Kim Drummond.
“However there are still a few irresponsible people who put the environment at risk by failing to follow the correct
procedures. Our message to them is that they will be held accountable when they are found breaching the rules.
“It is important that people and businesses work with Environment Canterbury to clarify what they should or should not
burn on private land; then having received that advice it is important they follow it.”
During sentencing Judge Kellar noted that the lawful and appropriate disposal of demolition waste is an ongoing and
significant issue in Canterbury for obvious reasons.
“It is essential that the rules be observed so as to avoid adding the effects of pollution from harmful chemicals to the
woes of people in Christchurch and surrounding areas.”
Tests showed the presence of chromium and arsenic in the ash which indicates that treated timber was burnt. Judge Kellar
noted the potentially adverse effects of burning treated wood, metals and plastic would be acute to humans if they
inhaled particles containing arsenic.
“I understand that the property has been listed on a register as contaminated and the area tested shows levels exceeding
relevant guidelines for arsenic, cadmium, chromium and lead.”
Judge Kellar remarked that overall Mr McKenzie’s offending was a careless failure to be informed about the relevant
rules. However he also rebuked Mr McKenzie for his apparent, albeit mistaken belief that he had the right to light fires
of this nature.
Kim Drummond says he is satisfied with the outcome and hopes that it will encourage all parties involved in the disposal
of demolition waste to follow the appropriate procedures.