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Castlepoint toxic tyre dumper fined 50k

About 4000 tyres were stockpiled on a property near Castlepoint. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

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A company responsible for the illegal disposal of about [4000] tyres at a property near Castlepoint has been fined $50,000.

At Wellington District Court on Wednesday, Kevin Anderson and his company Combined Projects [2016] were convicted and fined.

In 2019, Greater Wellington Regional Council [GWRC] laid four charges against Anderson for offending early that year.

The offending included an abatement notice to stop illegally disposing of the tyres.

The case went to trial, but Anderson eventually changed his pleas to guilty and appeared for sentencing on Wednesday.

Judge Brian Dwyer issued a fine of $50,000 to the company and convicted and discharged Anderson due to his financial position.

In addition to the fine, GWRC asked the court to impose an enforcement order requiring Anderson to remove the illegal tyres. Judge Dwyer declined this request, suggesting that GWRC could seek an order from the Environment Court.

GWRC environment protection team leader James Snowdon said the council would consider this option.

Snowdon said that before the prosecution, GWRC had engaged with the defendants and had advised them that they should not be receiving waste tyres.

“They have been carrying out this activity outside of the law for a number of years, placing their own interests over those of the community and environment,” he said.

However, the defendants had continued to receive waste tyres, culminating in the issue of an abatement notice, followed by an infringement notice, and finally, prosecution.

“There are legitimate ways to dispose of tyres,” Snowdon said.

“Instead, Mr Anderson and his company chose to receive these tyres and dispose of them illegally, creating a legacy problem for whoever eventually bought or inherited the land.”

He said people could dispose of tyres legally by taking them to a reputable business such as a tyre service centre or a local authority waste disposal site.

With an approximate weight of 10kg per tyre, and Masterton District Council’s transfer station disposal charge of $500 plus GST per tonne of tyres, the Times-Age calculated the cost of legally disposing of 4000 tyres would be about $20,000 plus GST.

The longer a tyre pile remains outdoors, the greater the probability that soil surrounding the pile will become contaminated.

Massey University senior lecturer in applied environmental chemistry Dr Nick Kim said the risk of tyres leaching contaminants was not immediate. However, the longer a tyre pile remained outdoors, the greater the probability that soil underneath and surrounding the pile would become contaminated.

When determining the level of the fine, Judge Dwyer noted the risk to the environment from a tyre fire, as well as the defendant’s poor management of the site for several years.

He noted that if the direct effects had been more significant at the time and Anderson had the ability to pay the sentence, the individual fine for him could have been up to $70,000.

Anderson’s illegal disposal of tyres went back more than a decade.

According to a 2006/07 GWRC pollution control report, Anderson had disposed of used tyres on land near McLaughlin Dr, close to Castlepoint.

The tyres contaminated the land and posed a risk of surface water contamination.

On October 9, 2006, the council issued an abatement notice, requiring Anderson to stop disposing of the tyres and remove the existing tyres. Alternatively, if the tyres were to remain onsite, the company would need to follow a management plan.

Anderson later received an infringement notice on March 13, 2007, for failure to comply with this management plan.

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