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By ROBYN BRISTOW

Concern is growing about the mountain of old tyres on the outskirts of Amberley.

Efforts to remove them have so far made only a small dent in the stack, despite a court order requiring the companies responsible for stockpiling the tyres on the property in Racecourse Road to have them gone by the end of the year.

Angela Clifford, a local organic farmer, says she is beginning to get nervous about the heap, which isn’t much smaller than it was when a smaller pile of about 500 tyres went up in smoke at the end of February, not far from the mountain of about 120,000 tyres.

Angela says the dry season is approaching and she would like Environment Canterbury (ECan) and the landowners to at least do some promised mitigation efforts, such as separating the largest stockpile into smaller stacks, as promised.

Public concern was heightened after the fire. A public meeting was held, security was put in place, and ECan promised to keep residents and farmers updated on the progress of getting rid of the problem.

On April 24, the Environment Court issued enforcement orders directing Tyre Recycling Services New Zealand Ltd and 2016 Tyre Shredding Ltd, both involved in stockpiling tyres at Amberley, to remove them all by December 31 this year.

The orders provided for a staged removal with certain quantities by specified dates, as well as ensuring the tyres closest to the tree lines were removed first, helping remove the risk to the environment.

ECan’s latest update on the stockpile acknowledges the companies are running behind projected removal targets.

“However, there has been a recent uplift in the number of tyres being collected and the company has provided a plan to Environment Canterbury to show how they will increase the number of weekly collections.

“If the companies fail to meet the December 31 deadline, then we are able to consider further enforcement options,” ECan says.

ECan has also confirmed that the landowners will start remediation of the site, where the fire was, shortly. This involves removing, and disposing of, all burnt material and the soil underneath, as well as the clay cap used to cover the fire.

“This work is expected to be completed within the coming weeks.”

Meanwhile, the site continues to be monitored closely, with ECan working closely with the Hurunui District Council and Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ).