Correspondence related to burning logs and slash on beaches
The request was partially successful.
From: T. Benseman
Dear Gisborne District Council,
please kindly provide all correspondence related to burning logs and forestry slash on beaches. Please include discussions around the amount of carbon you plan to pollute the atmosphere with during these burning activities. Between 1-1-2019 and 10-8-2020.
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Gisborne District Council
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From: Heather Kohn
Gisborne District Council
Dear T Benseman
Thank you for your request for information outlined below. Your request
has been considered under the Local Government Official Information and
Meetings Act (LGOIMA) and has been granted with the exception of any
personal details under section 7(2)(a) Protect the privacy of natural
persons, including that of deceased natural persons.
Please find below a dropbox link to a list of all of the correspondence in
relation to your request and copies of all emails pertaining to your
"Related to burning logs and forestry slash on beaches. Please include
discussions around the amount of carbon you plan to pollute the atmosphere
with during these burning activities. Between 1-1-2019 and 10-8-2020”.
We apologise that it has taken some time to respond but we have had some
key staff who had tasks associated with this request leave the
organisation over the period covered by your request. As a result, it
required a search through recovered emails to assure ourselves that no
relevant emails had been omitted. We have been specific to your request
but as the attached commentary in the listing below describes there are
other emails that generally relate to the woody debris that was deposited
on Tolaga Bay beaches within the time frames you specified. Some of the
correspondence we include relates to the period encompassing the 2018
Queens birthday storms which was out of scope for your request but we have
included them for completeness.
We also include some scientific papers which you may find informative.
This is “Carbon Forestry is surprising” Forest Ecosystems (2018) vol. 5.11
and there are a number of equivalent or indeed more focussed papers also
However a key point is the carbon emissions profile of mobilised harvest
residues when disposed of when burnt, compared to the carbon emissions of
the same residues who let to decompose naturally in the coastal
environment needs to be assessed. Our assessment was and is that the
primary carbon emissions difference between burning and decomposition once
transported is no different but the one factor is that of time; that is,
the net emissions for mobilised woody material burnt and mobilised woody
material decomposing is a function of time rather than quantity. In other
words, the total metric tonnes of carbon discharged is similar but happens
over a shorter period when burnt. In many overseas jurisdictions, with a
more dense infrastructure it is economic to transport harvest wood wastes
to landfills for burial. Where this can happen, medium term carbon
emissions are reduced but the jury is out with respect to the long term
emissions profile. In New Zealand, however, our forests are remote from
suitable landfills and that means that the transport emissions outweighs
any benefits that would otherwise accrue.
The issue highlights the difficult situation we face when addressing the
environmental impacts of non-compliant discharge of forestry harvest
residues to the environment outside the bounds of the relevant companies
resource consent. In these circumstances we need to consider the amenity
value placed on the use of the beach against a broader environmental
consideration and as referred to above the carbon emissions profile of the
wood on the beach when burnt is equivalent to the profile of the same wood
when left to decompose. The only difference being the enhanced loss of
amenity value to the local community if the woody material if left to
decompose naturally but still result in the same net carbon emissions.
With kind regards
Heather Kohn | Democracy Support Services Manager | Gisborne District
email [email address] | ph +64 6 867 2049
address 15 Fitzherbert Street, PO Box 747, Gisborne 4010 | url