Waimate waste to energy plant resource consent applications

Find out about the applications from South Island Resource Recovery Limited (SIRRL) for a proposed waste to energy plant in Waimate.

Current status: The Minister for the Environment has decided to call in the proposal. Read our full statement, or see the following timeline for additional information.

Applications timeline

September 2022: We received, and began auditing, resource consent applications from SIRRL for a proposed waste to energy plant near Waimate. 

October 2022: We returned the resource consent applications. This was due to insufficient information being supplied regarding the proposed activities of the plant, and their effect on the environment.

November 2022: SIRRL submitted revised applications.

December 2022: We returned the revised applications due to insufficient information being supplied – in particular, the lack of a cultural impact assessment.

January 2023: We received a formal objection to our decision to return the revised applications.

April 2023: A joint hearing was held for us and Waimate District Council regarding our returning of the revised applications. (Waimate District Council had also returned SIRRL’s application).

May 2023: We were informed the commissioner found in favour of the applicant. As a result, we and Waimate District Council commenced formally processing the applications.

May 2023: The proposed facility will require a water permit to take up to 2,500 m3/day to run the waste to energy facility. But since this has not been applied for yet, it was put on hold awaiting the consent application.

June 2023: Our councillors agreed to send a request to the Minister for the Environment to ‘call in’ the resource consent applications in accordance with s142 of the RMA. Waimate District Council has done the same.

July 2023: SIRRL also sent a request to the Minister for the Environment to ‘call in’ their proposal.

August 2023: EPA sent advice to the Minister, recommending the proposal to be called in. See EPA's advice and recommendation (PDF File, 2.75MB).

September 2023: The Minister made the decision to call in the proposal. See Minister's letter (PDF File, 526.19KB). The Environmental Protection Authority will take over the management of the applications, and the Environment Court will be the decision-maker on the overall proposal. View applications progress.

September 2023: Following a technical review of the resource consent application documents, we have requested further information from SIRRL to fully understand the proposal and the actual and potential effects. Read the letter (PDF File, 12.49MB)

Proposal summary

South Island Resource Recovery Ltd (SIRRL) applied to us for seven resource consents, and Waimate District Council for one resource consent, to permanently operate a large waste to energy incinerator in Waimate.

The proposed facility would burn up to 1,000 tonnes per day of everyday rubbish (technically known as Municipal Solid Waste) and construction and demolition waste.

It would burn about 20 percent of all rubbish produced in the South Island, to generate up to 30 MW of electricity per year - enough to power tens of thousands of homes.

The waste will be delivered to the site by up to 70 trucks per day initially, with a view to eventually using the railway network.

Most waste will be unloaded directly from trucks into an eight metre-deep fuel bunker which will hold up to 7,000 tonnes.

The facility will also allow for the storage of up to 45,000 tonnes of bailed construction and demolition waste in a covered warehouse.

The proposal will use up to 2,500 m3 per day of water (application pending) and generate up to 20,000 tonnes per year of 'fly ash' (ash generated during combustion) that will be vitrified (encased in glass).

It will also generate 80,000 tonnes of grate ash that will need to be disposed of by other means. After being burnt, any air discharges will be cleaned, with residual contaminants being discharged from a 75m high exhaust system.

Received resource consent applications

Eight resource consents are required under the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan and Canterbury Air Regional Plan to construct and operate the proposed facility. SIRRL has submitted the following seven:

The following consent still needs to be submitted:

  • Take and use of groundwater (application pending)

Request for further information

We have requested further information about the above consent application documents in order to fully understand the proposal and the actual and potential effects.

Read the letter to SIRRL (PDF File, 6.59MB)

Although the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is now administering the process after it was called in, all parties see value in these additional, comprehensive questions from our experts - as they will enable a better understanding of matters that are missing or unclear from the applications. We have proceeded on this basis.

What happens next?

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) will take over the management of the consent applications, including the public notification and calling for submissions, before handing it over to the Environment Court to consider and decide.

Both our council and Waimate District Council will still have a role in preparing planning reports and providing technical and planning support.

Both councils will be talking to the EPA about how the matter proceeds from here, and when it will be publicly notified. Once the proposal is notified, the public will have 30 days to make submissions.

There is no statutory deadline for when the Environment Court needs to make its decision.