Wainuiomata landfill may close due to ETS

PAUL EASTON
Last updated 05:00 01/10/2012

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The Wainuiomata landfill may close because of imminent changes under the emissions trading scheme.

Users of landfills around the country will face higher charges after the ETS comes into effect on January 1.

Hutt City Council has proposed closing the Wainuiomata landfill from December 31.

The plan was in response to the Government's introduction of the ETS, according to council papers.

The proposal will be discussed at a council committee meeting today.

The ETS is aimed at reducing the amount of greenhouse gases New Zealand produces, under the Kyoto protocol.

Hutt City Council infrastructure manager Bruce Sherlock said smaller, less efficient landfills were likely to close as the ETS took effect.

That would be good for the environment, he said. If the Wainuiomata landfill was closed it would probably become a park or reserve.

Wainuiomata landfill users were expected to go to the Silverstream landfill 20 kilometres away, or the Seaview Recycling and Transfer Station 7km away.

From January 1, councils will need to buy 1.3 emission trading units for every tonne of refuse deposited at a landfill.

Landfill operators have to buy carbon credits to match their emissions.

To recover the cost, user charges at the Wainuiomata landfill would have to rise by $9.10 a tonne of refuse.

The Silverstream landfill is more advanced, with a gas collection and destruction system. Its charges will rise by $3.20 a tonne.

Wainuiomata Community Board chairman Terry Stallworth said it was inevitable the closure would affect locals. Commercial space was running out, and the landfill was not viable for domestic users only.

A Wellington City Council spokesman said its landfill users would also be charged an ETS cost.

"That's how the ETS is designed to work."

The council was working with the Environment Ministry on how ETS costs would affect the southern landfill.

"The less waste that goes into southern landfill, the less the community's ETS costs will be. So efforts to recycle, compost and reduce the amount of waste we produce will all help."

Fees at Porirua's Spicer landfill have been tipped to rise by 3 per cent from July 1 2013 under the ETS.

A Local Government New Zealand spokesman said he was not aware of other landfills about to close.

"But we are sure that over time as landfills in smaller communities fill they will not be replaced and that waste will be transported to the nearest larger landfills."

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- The Dominion Post

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