Forest & Bird is deeply disappointed at a just-released Environment Court decision that paves the way for a 60 hectare landfill to be created at Wayby Valley in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, despite the site being home to many threatened species and habitats.
The Society is one of six organisations that opposed Waste Management’s bid to develop landfill with the capacity to contain approximately 25.8 million m3 of municipal solid waste. The others are DOC, Fight the Tip, Trustees of Ngā Maunga Whakahii o Kaipara Development Trust, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, and Te Uri o Hau.
The landfill will result in the permanent loss of more than 12 kilometres of streams which are habitat to an array of indigenous freshwater species, many classified as threatened or at-risk.
There are also grave concerns for the At Risk-Declining Hochstetter’s frog (evolutionarily distinct from Hochstetter’s found in other parts of Aotearoa), which will be destroyed at worst, or at the very least, face further habitat loss or fragmentation. The same holds true for the nationally critical pekepeka long-tailed bat, five lizard species, and a variety of bird species.
Permanent wetland loss including the critically endangered manuka fen is another factor in the case against the landfill, as is the risk of increased sedimentation on waterways in the Hōteo catchment.
But Forest & Bird and the other opponents argued that Waste Management’s proposed conditions of consent, largely dependent on unreliable compensation measures, are overly complex and provide no certainty that adverse effects on ecological values will be safeguarded.
The Environment Court has sought further modifications regarding consent conditions and management plans before it makes a final decision. The Court has found that, on the whole, the application could meet the purpose of the Resource Management Act with some further amendments.
The organisations are now considering the Environment Court’s decision before deciding on any further action.