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Published: 2003-11-10 00:00:00

Environment Waikato has granted resource consents to double the size of Inghams Enterprises Waitoa operations – with the full support of surrounding neighbours.

The company applied in February to increase production from 80,000 birds a day to 160,000 birds a day over the next five years, requiring consents to take water and discharge wastewater, stormwater and air contaminants at its factory in Waihekau Rd, Ngarua. The company also applied to Matamata Piako District Council for building and land use consents.

Environment Waikato Resource Officer Barry Campbell said such a large consent application would normally have considerable environmental effects, but thorough consultation with neighbours and parties such as Fish and Game, iwi and DoC had ensured the effects were no more than minor. This meant the consent did not have to be publicly notified.

As a result of concerns that interested groups had expressed, the company had made a number of modifications to its plans. Instead of increasing the use of groundwater it is negotiating with Matamata Piako District Council to pipe water from Te Aroha and provide a water treatment plant.

Discharges of treated wastewater to the nearby stream were also reduced to a contingency measure, and other issues such as noise, traffic and safety were resolved with neighbours.

The company said market demand for poultry meat continued to increase in New Zealand and had more than doubled in the last 10 years. It had secured a new contract to supply the KFC franchise next year.

Mr Campbell said the company had a good environmental record, with very few complaints. The present site wastewater treatment plant had achieved a high standard of treatment and the site had won a Paua Environmental Award from Environment Waikato in 1998 for its environmental improvements.

The company had also agreed to provide $15,000 towards a wetland restoration project as a mitigation of its discharge to the Waihekau stream. It was granted consents for a term of 20 years to ensure certainty for the expanded production, with review conditions to enable Environment Waikato to update them if required.