Two companies have been fined a total of $24,700 at a Hastings District Court sentencing on Thursday for breaching burning rules.
Hawke's Bay Regional Council group manager policy and regulation Katrina Brunton said the fines are a timely reminder to the rural community that this way of waste disposal is unacceptable.
"The rules around burning are clear for rural and urban areas to protect the health of our communities," she said.
Judge Melinda Dickey sentenced both companies, Awakeri Drainage Limited and Plantation Road Dairies Limited, for breaching the Resource Management Act 1991.
In the first case, Awakeri Drainage Limited pleaded guilty to burning prohibited items, including asbestos, and was fined $13,500.
The regional council's Pollution Response team attended the fire in Farndon Rd in Clive in June last year, where a large orchard redevelopment was underway.
Debris from an old woodshed was being burned.
The fire contained a number of prohibited items including broken asbestos cladding, the remains of an electrical switch board with coated wire attached to an asbestos backing board, plastic, treated timber, metal conduit pipes, metal flashings and a garden hose.
Judge Dickey found that this fire would have contributed to the adverse cumulative effects on air quality in the area.
In the second case, Plantation Road Dairies Limited pleaded guilty to burning prohibited items in a rubbish pit on the company's farm in Ongaonga, Central Hawke's Bay and were fined $11,200.
The regional council's Pollution Response team was called to the property in Plantation Rd in June last year.
The rubbish within the pit contained a number of prohibited items including car parts, metals, plastics, farm medical waste, construction waste, household rubbish and an old oven.
Judge Dickey found that the company was "highly careless" with regard to its oversight of the lighting of this fire and the types of materials that were placed on it, and in its lack of monitoring of the contents of the pit to ensure that its waste management policies and procedures were being followed.
Brunton said outdoor fires are regulated by the Hawke's Bay Regional Resource Management Plan and it is prohibited to burn certain items at any time of year.
The council is also running an extensive winter burning campaign to educate the community.