Update: Project Kea waste to energy plant resource consent application

We have received a formal objection to our decision to return the revised application for a proposed waste-to-energy plant in South Canterbury.

Our justifications for the return of the applications in both October and December included the lack of a Cultural Impact Assessment. We maintain that due to the size and complexity of this project, the assessment is required in order to fulfil the requirements of the Resource Management Act (RMA).

We will now follow the objection process under the RMA. South Island Resource Recovery Limited has asked for the objection to be heard by an independent commissioner.

The applicant has also requested an extension on its objection and we are considering this request.

If our decision to return the revised application is upheld, South Island Resource Recovery Limited can then choose to accept it or appeal to the Environment Court.

If our decision is dismissed, we will start processing the company’s consents.

For more information on why we returned the revised application, please refer to Update 4 below.

We are unable to comment further.

Previous updates

Update 4: 21 December 2022

We have returned the revised application for a proposed waste-to-energy plant in South Canterbury.

This is due to insufficient information being supplied relating to the activity and its effects on the environment – in particular, the lack of a cultural impact assessment.

In November 2022, South Island Resource Recovery Limited lodged seven applications for reassessment, after the initial applications were returned in October.

Hayleigh Brereton, regional leader of consents delivery, explained that while the resubmitted application addresses many of the matters raised in the previous version regarding adverse effects of the discharges to air, stormwater and wastewater – one critical issue remains.

"This is a very large proposal and the first of its kind in New Zealand, and would have some wide-reaching potential effects, including many unknown effects on mana whenua.

"It is our view that to fulfill Schedule 4 and s88(2) of the Resource Management Act (RMA), a site-specific Cultural Impact Assessment is required to be completed either by, or in close consultation with Te Rūnanga o Waihao.

"This remains an outstanding matter, and we, therefore, consider the application incomplete."

The application has been returned under Section 88(3A) of the RMA. Waimate District Council has also returned the application.

South Island Resource Recovery Limited has been informed of the decision.

If the company wishes to proceed with an application, it must submit a new one in full.

If it disagrees with our decision, it can lodge an official objection.

 Download the South Island Resource Recovery return letter (PDF file, 136.01KB)

Update 3: 2 December 2022

We have received a new application from South Island Resource Recovery Limited for a proposed waste to energy plant in South Canterbury.

In October 2022, we returned resource consent applications for the waste to energy proposal due to insufficient information being supplied.

We will now begin working through the process of assessing the new application for adequacy.

The following applications from South Island Resource Recovery Limited are being processed:

Key documents can be found under the 'related info' tab.

Read more general information on the consent application process under the RMA.

Update 2: 21 October 2022

Environment Canterbury has returned the resource consent applications for a proposed waste to energy plant from South Island Resource Recovery Limited.

Overall, this is due to insufficient information being supplied regarding the proposed activities of the plant and their effect on the environment.

This information is required under Schedule 4 of the Resource Management Act (RMA), with the application returned under Section 88(3A).

Waimate District Council has also returned applications for the same proposal.

Environment Canterbury has informed South Island Resource Recovery Limited of the decision.

Environment Canterbury consents planning manager Aurora Grant explained that the key concern was the lack of information regarding the scale and potential effects of the proposed activity.

"This is a very large proposal. It's the first of its kind and scale in New Zealand and one that includes many activities that could impact the environment.

"This includes significant discharges to air from the burning of large volumes of plastics and other municipal, construction and demolition waste. We require more information to understand these effects.

"For a project of this size and complexity to proceed, we need detailed information to enable us to process the consents. There is fundamental information missing, meaning the application is incomplete."

More specifically, Environment Canterbury identified incomplete information in the consent applications on the impacts to cultural values, groundwater, surface water, air quality, stormwater discharge, and odour.

The applicant has the right to object to the decision to return the applications under s357 of the RMA if it is lodged within 15 working days following notification of their application being returned. 

Download the South Island Resource Recovery return letter (PDF File, 234KB)

Update: 28 September 2022

Environment Canterbury has received resource consent applications from South Island Resource Recovery Limited for a proposed waste to energy plant near Waimate and is now auditing the applications before any public notification begins.

We received seven resource consent applications on Wednesday 21 September, which contain numerous documents and supporting material, and this is now all available on our website for people to access. The ‘related information’ tab contains many of the key documents.

Aurora Grant, Consents Planning Manager, said the next step in the process is for the Environment Canterbury team to audit the applications.

“Our consents planners and experts will assess the applications and audit the Assessment of Environmental Effects in detail. This could take a number of months, as there are a significant number of technical reports to audit.

“The applicant has requested public notification from both Environment Canterbury and Waimate District Council so, once both agencies have completed the required audits, the proposal will be jointly notified and open for public submission. Members of the community will be able to make submissions and have their say during this part of the process.”

The relevant resource consent applications are:

Read more general information on the consent application process under the Resource Management Act (RMA).