21 Apr 2014

Logging road dust prompts questions

8:32 am on 21 April 2014

Northland National MP Mike Sabin is challenging Whangarei District Council to account for how it spent millions of dollars of funding intended for forestry roads.

Residents of Pipiwai and Wrights roads, north-west of Whangarei, have been complaining about the dust caused by logging trucks for more than a year, after the health board confirmed it was a health hazard.

The same road after a truck had gone by.

The council said it cannot afford to seal the roads. Photo: SUPPLIED

Local councils have applied a dust lock product to the gravel roads outside the affected houses and logging truck operators agreed to slow down as they went past. But residents have said that hasn't worked and this summer the problem has been as bad as ever.

The council has said it cannot afford to seal the roads because the Government has cut all subsidies for seal extensions.

Mr Sabin said Northland and Gisborne were given $88 million over a decade to prepare roads for the 'wall of wood' they knew was coming and wants to know where that has been spent.

He plans to raise the question of unsealed roads and the dust problem at a Northland mayoral forum this week.

Dairy farmer Alex Wright said tests have now confirmed an oil product used by the council to suppress the dust is carcinogenic.

Mrs Wright said rural people fed up with being exposed to the dust are organising a protest march to the Whangarei council chambers next month.