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  Council » Policies and Plans » Rules and regulation » Waikato Regional Plan » Waikato Regional Plan (online version) » 6.1 Regional and Local Air Management » 6.1.14 Implementation Methods - Processing, Storage, Transfer and Flaring of Hydrocarbons and Biogas

6.1.14 Implementation Methods - Processing, Storage, Transfer and Flaring of Hydrocarbons and Biogas Permitted Activity Rule – Hydrocarbons and Biogas


This Rule does not apply to:

Plantation forestry activities as from 1 May 2018 these activities are regulated under the National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry Regulations 2017(external link).


The discharge of contaminants into air in connection with:

  1. Any process involving the production and collection (including refining, purification or reforming) of biogas* produced by anaerobic fermentation at a rate of not exceeding 200 cubic metres per day
  2. The flaring* and combustion of hydrocarbons and biogas provided that:
    1. the biogas and hydrocarbons do not contain more than 1 percent halogenated hydrocarbons expressed as chlorine; and
    2. the combined rate of combustion does not exceed two megawatts
  3. The storage and transfer of hydrocarbons and biogas;

is a permitted activity subject to the following condition:

  1. As specified in Section 6.1.8 conditions a) to e) of this Plan.

Advisory Notes:

  • If good practice is applied in conjunction with this Rule then adverse effects beyond the boundary from this scale of activity should not occur.
  • Refer also Sections and regarding discharges from landfills.
  • If any of these conditions are not complied with then the activity is a discretionary activity in accordance with Rule
  • Rules relating to the production of compost (such as the production of substrate for the cultivation of mushrooms) including any associated discharges to air are in Section 5.2.8 of this Plan. General ventilation from mushroom cultivation is covered by the miscellaneous permitted activity Rule part 16. Controlled Activity Rule – Combustion of Landfill Gas

The discharge of contaminants into air from the combustion of hydrocarbons and biogas at a combined rate of combustion exceeding two megawatts where:

  1. the combustion is for the purpose of generating useful heat, steam, power or electricity; or
  2. the discharge is ancillary to the flaring of hydrocarbons

is a controlled activity (requiring resource consent) subject to the following standards and terms:

  1. The source of the hydrocarbons or biogas must be a landfill authorised under Rule of this Plan
  2. As specified in Section 6.1.8 Conditions a) to e) of this Plan

Waikato Regional Council reserves control over the following matters:

  1. Measures to avoid, remedy or mitigate the adverse effects of the activity on neighbouring dwelling places or properties.
  2. The emission control methods to be used.
  3. Contents of a Management Plan.

Application for a resource consent under this Rule will be considered without notification or the need to serve notice on affected persons, in accordance with sections 93(1)(a) and 94D(3) of the RMA.

Explanation and Principal Reasons for Adopting Methods and
Rule permits the discharge of contaminants to air in relation to the small scale production, storage, transfer and small scale flaring of hydrocarbons and biogas. This Rule applies to the discharges from both industrial or trade premises and non-industrial or trade premises.

The production of biogas not exceeding 200 cubic metres per day is permitted under Rule part 1 because this level is unlikely to have adverse effects on air quality. Waikato Regional Council wishes to encourage the recovery of biogas and facilitate any small scale recovery processes or investigations associated with larger recovery operations.

The technology and risks associated with larger scale operations are such that a consent process is necessary to ensure that adverse effects associated with such larger plants are adequately avoided, remedied or mitigated.

Small scale flaring and combustion (not exceeding two megawatts) is permitted under Rule part 2. Such burning is considered to have minor adverse effects on neighbouring properties, such as light spill. This provision allows for flaring or combustion of gases from sites such as landfills, which is a preferred method to the uncontrolled release of these contaminants into the air.

The transfer and storage of hydrocarbons and biogas is permitted under Rule part 3 because the effects of the discharge from any associated ventilation pipes are generally minimal.

Rule enables the discharge of contaminants from the combustion of hydrocarbons and biogas from consented landfills for the purpose of generating electricity. This activity is enabled relative to other similar activities because the effects that need to be avoided, remedied or mitigated are largely already addressed in the consents for the landfill. The Rule also permits discharges ancillary to the flaring of hydrocarbons from a consented landfill at times when electricity generation systems are not operational. All that is required is a specific management plan and air pollution control equipment appropriate to the site.

The actual production of hydrocarbons including the refining, purification, and reforming of hydrocarbons and any other hydrocarbon and biogas processing not covered in Rule or is a discretionary activity and requires a resource consent under Rule

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