24 Mar 2010

Forestry company fined over washout

8:15 pm on 24 March 2010

The Green Party hopes the forest industry will learn a lesson from the steep fine imposed on a forestry company in the Bay of Plenty.

The country's biggest forestry services operator, P F Olsen, was fined $80,000 in the Environment Court last week.

The regional council prosecuted the company as a result of sediment and debris from logging operations being washed into tributaries of the Waiotahi River in the Eastern Bay of Plenty two years ago.

P F Olsen's marketing manager, Peter Weblin, says it occurred during an intense rainstorm that hit the area.

He says apart from that incident, the company has had a very good environmental track-record.

Mr Weblin says it is important that the Greens and the public do not overlook that bigger picture and the environmental benefits that forestry provides.

But Greens' forestry spokesperson, Catherine Delahunty, says heavy rain storms are not uncommon in the Bay of Plenty, and the company and the wider forest industry need to regard the prosecution and fine as a wake-up call.