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Noho ora mai
By: Michelle Mehlhopt
The Government is seeking feedback on the proposed National Environmental Standard for the Outdoor Storage of Tyres (NES).  When tyres are stored outdoors, they pose a fire risk and can leach toxic substances into the soil and harbour pests.

The aim of the standard is to:
  • Ensure the risks of harm to the environment, human health and local communities from outdoor storage are appropriately managed.
  • Support more consistent management practices across New Zealand, filling gaps in regulatory settings that create incentives to move tyres between regions.
The proposed NES builds on an earlier consultation in 2017.  The Government is seeking feedback on three key variations to the original proposal:
  1. Responsibility for the NES: it is now proposed that regional councils, rather than territorial authorities, will be responsible for implementing, administering and enforcing the NES.  The reason for this is that the responsibility is better aligned with the functions of regional councils and it will ensure that the NES can address risks associated with existing stockpiles (i.e. existing use rights under section 10 of the Resource Management Act 1991 would not apply). Territorial authorities would continue to have the ability to address amenity effects associated with the outdoor storage of tyres through their plan rules.

  2. Threshold for consent: a key decision on the NES is the threshold (defined in terms of the volume of tyres) above which a resource consent would be required.Feedback is sought on two potential thresholds.  These are:
  • 200m3 which equates to 2500 stacked passenger tyres (this was the option consulted on in 2017); or
  • 100m3 which equates to 1250 stacked passenger tyres, a new option which is intended to provide a stronger framework for mitigating key environmental and public health risks.
The requirement for resource consent will not apply to farm silage tyres that are stored in the off-season.
  1. Permitted activity rule with requirements: the introduction of a permitted activity rule with requirements for outdoor tyre storage between 40m3 and the volume threshold for discretionary resource consent. The indicative requirements for this rule are:
The indicative requirements for this rule are:
  1. The height of the tyre pile must be no more than 3m.
  2. Tyres must not be located within 50m from the centerline of power lines or other National Grid infrastructure.
  3. Tyres must not be located within 20m of any water body.
  4. Tyres must not be located within 50m of the coastal marine area.
  5. An alternative to complying with conditions (c) and (d) is for the tyres to be stored on sites which have impervious surfaces and where suitable bunds are provided to prevent contaminants from being washed or spilled into natural ground or entering any piped stormwater systems or stormwater ground soakage.
Having a permitted activity rule means that there is no need for the NES to provide that Councils may have a rule in a plan that is more stringent.

Other matters proposed by the NES include:
  • The intention of the NES is that it would apply to all tyres – whole, chipped or shredded (except for exemptions).
  • The NES would define tyre storage as tyres stored on a property, with no minimum timeframes imposed before tyres were deemed to be ‘stored’.
  • The threshold in the NES would apply to a site rather than to individual tyre piles.  This would avoid the scenario of multiple tyre piles below the threshold being stored on one site to avoid the need to obtain a resource consent.
  • The Ministry for the Environment is also considering widening the scope of the proposed NES to include indoor storage.
Submissions on the proposed variations close on 8 April 2020.  The NES is expected to be completed and gazetted by August 2020.

Further details of the proposed variations can be viewed on the Ministry for the Environment’s website: https://www.mfe.govt.nz/consultations/outdoor-storage-tyres

If you would like to discuss the proposed NES, or would like assistance with lodging a submission, please contact a member of our Resource Management and Environmental Law Team. 
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