A case of illegal dumping brought by Auckland Council has resulted in the highest Resource Management Act fine ever for a council prosecution.
The Auckland District Court has imposed a fine of $175,000 on Adams Landscapes Ltd, $35,000 on Aviation Country Club of New Zealand Inc. and $6,000 investigation costs on Andrew Clark.
Auckland Council’s case involved a landscaping and earthmoving firm, which illegally dumped fill in the Coastal Marine Area, on farmland and at a golf club. Some of the fill dumped on land was contaminated with hydrocarbons. The Council also prosecuted the occupants of the properties where the fill had been dumped.
The criminal prosecution was undertaken by Auckland Council’s Natural Resources and Specialist Input Unit, CBD team and Central enforcement team.
Auckland Council's Resource Consents Manager Heather Harris says a priority for the Resource Consents department is the protection of the environment.
"Compliance staff from several areas were involved, along with natural resources specialists. It was a complicated and lengthy investigation," said Ms Harris.
Illegal dumping is a significant issue in the Auckland region and is regarded seriously by the courts. It tends to occur when operators want to avoid paying charges for correct disposal of fill at licensed disposal facilities.
"It is important for contractors to dispose of fill carefully and legally. Council is concerned about illegal dumping because the contaminants can cause serious harm to the environment and to human health.
“Our scientists report that it causes discharges to the environment of heavy metals including lead, other metals such as arsenic, petroleum products and harmful chemicals such as cyanide.
“Illegal dumping can also result in uncontrolled discharges of sediment to our waterways and the sea causing harm to fish and other aquatic life, and to vegetation. Sediment is the largest cause of shellfish loss in our marine environment,” said Ms Harris.