Northland Regional Council will deploy an air control monitor if a new boiler and chimney stack at Affco freezing works in Moerewa concerns nearby residents.

Residents of the small settlement of Taumatamakuku, between Moerewa and Kawakawa, are angry NRC granted Affco a resource consent to shift its boiler about 280 metres northeast without their input.

They said the closeness of the new boiler and the reduction of the chimney's height from 42m to 20m would worsen their respiratory problems.

A community liaison meeting was held on Affco premises on Tuesday which was attended by company officials, concerned residents, and NRC resource scientist - air Obi Khanal.


An NRC spokeswoman said once the new boiler was in operation, anyone concerned about smoke or odour issues could call its environmental hotline. As part of an incident investigation, Khanal agreed to deploy an air quality monitor for between two and four weeks.

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Roddy Pihema, spokesman for the residents, said it was also agreed at the meeting
that there would be three people from Taumatamakuku who would liaise with Affco on
matters of concern in future.

"NRC has agreed to give an air quality monitor but the community isn't completely convinced that the level of pollution will be controlled. But it's not until the boiler and chimney starts operating we'll know how they will perform," he said.

However, Pihema said the meeting was a good opportunity to clarify a few issues and to get a line of communication open with Affco.

NRC said the adverse effects of the proposed change to conditions in respect of the boiler and chimney operations on the environment would be no more than minor.

Affco said sulphur and ash emission levels would be significantly reduced by a more environmentally friendly wood-pellet burning boiler and overall emissions would be reduced by 50per cent from existing levels.