Manawatū Waste-to-Energy Plant Needs Public Consultation, Environmentalist Says
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The location where the proposed plant would go on Kawakawa Rd.
An environmentalist fears that a waste-to-energy plant will be developed behind closed doors and says the potential impacts on health and the environment warrant public debate.
Liam Prince of Zero Waste Network says he is concerned about the risks posed by a pyrolysis plant project for Kawakawa Road near Feilding, which would process waste and turn it into electricity and fuel.
Bio Plant Manawatū, a subsidiary of Bio Plant NZ, is requesting permission to establish the center that would process 42 tonnes of waste per day.
Prince said if Manawatū District Council wanted a factory that burns garbage on its doorstep, then residents need to know.
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The development of the plant is not public information, as the rental or sale of the Kawakawa site has been discussed privately by the board.
“We are concerned about the fundamental democratic deficit,” Prince said. “Residents need to know that if this happens, what are the risks of emissions? What contaminants are left behind? “
Advisors contacted by Thing said they could not comment on the plant due to its commercial sensitivity.
Council infrastructure manager Hamish Waugh said the council has been in discussions with Bio Plant since 2019.
He said that because the potential site was already designated for waste disposal, no consent was required by the district council.
Bio Plant’s chief financial officer, Ming Lim-Pollard, said the company has engaged with multiple communities of interest since 2019, but only appointed the regional council and iwi, and did not want to advertising on the plant.
Ngā Kaitiaki o Ngāti Kauwhata chairman Denis Emery said his iwi was approached by the company through its consultants at Mana Pacific, a Palmerston North-based company, which was also a shareholder of Bio Plant Manawatū .
Emery said being approached by an Indigenous company had made him optimistic about long-term Indigenous partnerships in the bioenergy industry.
He said the jobs created could start at single digits, but would increase if the factory did.
When asked if he was concerned about the environmental impact, he said, “From what I’ve read about new technology in the modern era, toxins in the air… we don’t. can no longer afford to do that.
“I expect scientists to know.”
A letter of support from Ngāti Kauwhata was attached to the company’s resource authorization request to the Horizons Regional Council.
Horizons chief communications officer Christine Morrison said the company had an active consent request from Bio Plant Manawatū to release contaminants into the air at 247 Kawakawa Rd, but was on hold pending more ‘information.
In 2018, a proposed pyrolysis plant for Blenheim was suspended and then canceled after years of protest from neighboring residents.