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Farm Refuse Dumps

Farm Refuse Dumps

Updated 7 November 2016 11:39am

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Farming practices produce a wide variety of waste products, from construction and household waste (timber, plastics and metals) to hazardous materials (ie, containers with agrichemical or paint remnants). Traditionally farmers have dug dump sites on their own properties for convenience. Once the dump became full, the rubbish was often burnt to make space for more rubbish on the same site.

Farm dumps which are not in the right place can negatively affect human health and the surrounding environment. They can result in contaminants leaching into waterways, cause smells which annoy the neighbours and produce wind-blown rubbish and lead to dangerous health effects. Burning of rubbish can concentrate pollutants and potentially cause serious air and soil contamination which may damage human or animal health. Contaminated ash can remain in the soil or be blown to neighbouring properties, which is one reason why Greater Wellington no longer allows the burning of rubbish in a farm dump.

What you need to know about farm refuse dumps

Construction of a farm dump is a permitted activity under the Proposed Natural Resources Plan (PNRP), see Farm refuse dumps, Rule R89. This means a resource consent is not required, provided the following conditions are met:  

  • It is located outside of a community drinking water supply protection area (refer to maps 26, 27a, 27b and 27c).
  • It is located on a property larger than 20 hectares in a rural zone.
  • It is used only for disposal of rubbish from your own farm.
  • The property is farther than 20km away from the nearest transfer station or tip and kerbside collection is not available.
  • It is situated in soils that are not free draining, ie, silt or clay.
  • It is located at least 50m away from drains, gullies, waterways, water supply bores and property boundaries.
  • It is not located in an area prone to flooding or ponding.
  • The total volume of rubbish does not exceed 50m3.
  • It is covered over with top soil when it is full.
  • It is not used for disposal of animal carcasses, offal or hazardous substances.
  • There is at least 0.6m clearance between the bottom of the dump and the water table.
  • There is no burning of the contents of the dump.
  • Any smells coming from the dump must not affect the neighbours.


1. To find out if you need a resource consent or if you are unsure about any of the conditions, please contact Greater Wellington Regional Council,  or 0800 496734.

2. A suggested alternative would be to bring all waste to transfer stations or the tip for safe disposal, energy recovery and recycling.

3. Approval may also be needed from your local city or district council. Please contact them directly for further advice:

This information is intended to provide a guideline to the requirements of the Proposed Natural Resources Plan for the Wellington Region. Please also be aware of the requirements in the current operative plan as well as the provisions mentioned in this user guide.

Sources used: