16 Jan 2013

Tyre-dumper flees country amid court action

7:49 pm on 16 January 2013

Auckland's deputy mayor says a man who skipped the country amidst court action for dumping tyres has left a permanent scar in her Swanson community.

Ross Britten's company was this week fined $77,500 for dumping nearly 1 million tyres at a Waikato property.

Britten picked up used tyres from businesses over six years and buried them on his Waikato farm using a digger instead of disposing of them at a landfill.

The Waikato Regional Council says Mr Britten, a former Waitakere councillor, has been convicted for breaches under the Resource Management Act, but absconded to Australia in 2012 before he was sentenced.

The council discovered nearly 1 million tyres on his Naike property in 2008 - many sitting in or below ground water. The businesses had believed that Mr Britten was disposing of the tyres correctly.

Auckland deputy mayor Penny Hulse says Mr Britten, a former Waitakere councillor, caused a permanent scar on his previous property in Swanson, in Auckland's west, 15 years ago.

"As local residents, we would watch him. He had this huge truck that he would fill with tyres and it all seemed to sort of happen late at night and in the early hours of the morning. The truck would be up and down that road.

"I was on his property a few weeks ago, just to have a look, and the property's covered in tyres."

Ms Hulse says he told the community that the land would be transformed into botanical gardens, but instead she says it turned into a bomb site.

The Waikato Regional Council says buried tyres can discharge contaminants and it will monitor water quality in the area.