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Published: 2011-03-16 00:00:00

Environment Waikato consents for a planned sand extraction and processing operation to be run by Titoki Sands Limited at Tamahere have been granted by independent hearings commissioner Graeme Ridley.

The consents cover a range of operations at the proposed 71 hectare site on Tauwhare Rd, which in part fronts on to State Highway 1.

The hearing into the EW consents heard about an extensive range of community concerns about the proposal, including its impacts on native fish and bats, dust creation, contamination and depletion of groundwater, contamination of a local stream, and the need to remediate high quality soils once sand mining had ended.

Titoki Sands outlined to the hearing various measures to ensure that the sand mining operation would not have an unduly negative impact on the environment. These included soil, gully and wetland restoration, dust mitigation measures, wildlife protection measures, and erosion and sediment controls.

EW staff witnesses at the hearing supported the granting of the consents as long as mitigation measures put in place were more comprehensive than those proposed by Titoki Sands.

Mr Ridley accepted the vast bulk of the EW staff recommendations to impose more strict consent conditions than proposed by Titoki Sands.

The stricter conditions included greater monitoring of dust emissions, more extensive restoration of a gully and wetlands, and more conditions aimed at protecting fish and animal life in the area.

In his decision, Mr Ridley said: “I am satisfied that Titoki activities will not result in such significant adverse effects that these are unable to be dealt with by way of appropriate conditions.”

At the same hearing, Waikato District Council (WDC) commissioners heard Titoki’s application for a separate land use consent. WDC was to issue its own media statement about that consent.