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By ROBYN BRISTOW

Around 450,000 tyres are still piled high on a Racecourse Road property on the outskirts of Amberley, despite a court order to have them removed by December 31, 2018.

The Environment Court issued enforcement orders on April 24, last year directing Tyre Recycling Services New Zealand Ltd and 2016 Tyre Shredding Ltd, both involved in stockpiling the tyres, to remove them by the deadline.

While some tyres have been carted away, a mountain remains, as do the fears of nearby landowners, particularly in light of last February’s fire at the site.

Angela Clifford a local organic farmer, says it is extraordinary neither the local or regional council, nor the government seems motivated to find a solution, “given the overwhelming disaster it would be for Amberley and surrounding districts should those tyres catch fire again”.

“Can they honestly tell their constituents that they proactively investigated every possible solution, appealed to every avenue and organisation, considered every loophole in the law to solve this?

“Because they must know they will be held under unbearable personal and professional scrutiny should the worst happen,” Angela says.

Environment Canterbury (ECan) has now turned its attention to the landowner in a bid to get the site cleared.

Angelique Hyde, on behalf of the landowner, says they are seeking legal advice, and working with ECan to try to get a resolution.

“It is going to get fixed. I am just not sure how. But until I have a positive and proper plan going forward, I cannot comment.”

North Canterbury zone delivery manager Andrew Arps says the landowner has worked closely with ECan throughout the process and has already taken responsibility for the remediation of the contaminated material at the site that resulted from the fire in February 2018.

ECan’s approach so far has been to try to make those involved in the issue address the risk posed by the tyres to the community and the environment, he says.

“To date, our focus has been on pursuing the companies responsible for stockpiling the tyres, who have been under a court order to remove them.

“Unfortunately, their actions in doing so have been inadequate,” he says.

“We understand this is a difficult situation for the landowner, who is also a
victim of the poor behaviour by the companies involved, and their failure to abide by the terms of the court order.

ECan has surveyed the stockpile and say there is around 450,000 – “considerably greater than the 120,000 estimate previously submitted to the court by the companies involved”.

Mr Arps says ECan is also continuing to investigate options for further action
against the companies.

ECan continues to work closely with the Hurunui District Council and Fire and
Emergency New Zealand to co-ordinate the clean-up after the fire.

The removal of tyres has been monitored.

The April court order provided for a staged removal of certain quantities
by specified dates, as well as ensuring the tyres closest to the tree lines were removed first.

The enforcement orders were granted in response to court action filed by ECan in December 2017.