A Putaruru man has been convicted and fined more than $20,000 for burning tyres.
The NZ Fire Service was alerted to a fire at the rural property of Bruce Leonard on 20 September 2012. On arrival, volunteer fire officers observed thick black smoke bellowing from the rear of the property.
When the officers advised Mr Leonard that it was illegal to burn tyres, Mr Leonard refused to co-operate and became rude and aggressive towards them. They subsequently had to leave without putting out the blaze.
Nine days later, the Waikato Regional Council received a complaint from a member of the public in respect of a second fire at the Leonard property. Council inspectors located the fire and remnants of approximately 30 burnt tyres.
“Tyre burning should be of particular concern to the community as it discharges highly toxic pollutants, including cancer-causing dioxins into the air,” council investigations manager Patrick Lynch said.
“Burning tyres is banned throughout New Zealand by a national environmental standard because it is so hazardous.”
The council prosecuted Mr Leonard for two breaches of the National Environmental Standard for Air Quality under the Resource Management Act.
The matter was heard in the Hamilton District Court before Judge Harland this week. Judge Harland said that Mr Leonard’s culpability was high and his comments to the fire officers were “completely unacceptable, rude and arrogant”.
Leonard was fined a total of $20,306 and ordered to pay costs and fees totalling $486.