An Order in Council (OIC) under the severe Weather Emergency Recovery Legislation Act has been made to allow for the burning of cyclone and flood waste.

HB Regional Council and Fire and Emergency New Zealand are working together to advise landowners who want to safely burn waste from the February floods.

However, this is only a temporary rule change to address the exceptional circumstances many find themselves in. Such burning can take place between July 5 and November 1 this year.

The issue is a complex one – the waste is often a mix of woody debris, silts and farm infrastructure such as tanalised posts, wire and plastic irrigation tubing – far from ideal to burn and therefore prohibited. But sorting the waste into different streams for disposal is highly impractical, and some say, impossible to do efficiently or safely.

The sheer amounts of waste to clear are overwhelming in some instances, as BayBuzz reported earlier with the example of Lesley Wilson of Puketapu. Also for our in depth look at the issue, see here.

A trial done earlier this year showed that if conducted properly, with lots of oxygen and heat, the burn would be very clean and not create smoke and particulates.

Regional Council General Manager Policy and Regulation, Katrina Brunton said the measures were extraordinary, but so was the problem many landowners faced.

“Many farmers and horticulturalists, are under huge stress dealing with the waste from Cyclone Gabrielle with huge piles of waste that are preventing the recovery of their land.”  

Burton said fire and management plans for burn-offs were the first step for landowners in this position, following advice from Fire and Emergency, which could be found the Regional Council website.

Plans must be submitted to Council two days ahead of any burning. If the plans don’t adhere to the Order in Council, enforcement action could be taken, she said. 

Fire management plans can be lodged with the Council by clicking here

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