Spicer Landfill development

Spicer Landfill is running out of room faster than anticipated and the consents allowing the landfill to operate are expiring. We are preparing to make a resource consent application to develop the landfill to meet our growing city’s needs.

On this page you will find

Latest update - November 2023

Design work to create a new cell providing extra capacity within the existing landfill boundary at Spicer Landfill is underway.

The cell design will be modified from the original plans for Cell 3A to ensure it fits within the current designation. It will be constructed in the northwest corner of the landfill and will provide an additional 377,000 cubic metres.

This creates enough additional capacity to continue landfill operations on site until 2030 when the existing consent expires. Current projections mean we were likely to run out of room in 2027/2028.

It also allows more time for us to mitigate the current odour issues and apply for a new resource consent.

Next steps

Detailed design of cell 3A is expected to be completed by June 2024 with construction of the new cell taking place during the 2024, 2025 and 2026 construction seasons.

We plan to have the new cell operational by mid-2027.

We had been seeking to lodge a resource consent application this year to extend the life of the landfill out to 2050. That’s because the existing consent to operate the landfill expires in 2030 and space in the current filling area is likely to run out by 2027/28.

Instead, we will now look to create more space within the existing landfill boundary and consent timeframe – a short-term solution to finding more room for waste as space runs out.

We are still committed to the long-term future of the landfill, but odour issues continue to be problematic. Despite putting measures in place to address odour, the number of complaints from neighbouring residents remains high, meaning we are not in a position to lodge an application to extend the life of the landfill while we are still grappling with this issue.

Creating additional space for waste within the existing consent buys more time to try and minimise odour while still meeting the waste disposal needs of the community.

We will continue to closely monitor odour and to trial new solutions.

In the meantime, we plan to continue to operate the landfill up to the current consent expiry in 2030. Work behind the scenes on the consent application will continue so that when the odour is better managed, we can lodge our resource consent application.

Read more in our media release here.

Lack of space: meeting the challenge

Spicer Landfill is one of Porirua City’s most well-used facilities – it’s frequented by those disposing of household, commercial and industrial waste.

As a city we are committed to waste minimisation and to transitioning to a low carbon, circular economy alongside the rest of the Wellington region. Minimising waste should always be the first priority with landfilling the last option.

How the landfill fits with waste minimisation

However, Spicer Landfill is still an important cog in the waste minimisation wheel. It incorporates facilities for recycling, reusing, and reducing waste as well as facility to landfill waste – as such it is part of the critical infrastructure required to support economic development in the city. And in terms of resilience, the landfill provides space for depositing waste in the event of a significant event occurring in the Wellington region such as an earthquake.

Running out of room

Spicer Landfill is running out of room faster than anticipated and the consents allowing the landfill to operate are expiring. Based on current usage and current projections the landfill is likely to run out of room by 2027/28.

Plans to extend the landfill have been included in Long-term and Asset Management planning since 2009 with the most recent 2021-2051 Long-term Plan continuing to outline and budget for plans to extend the landfill by adding two more cells (cells 3 and 4).

Preparing our resource consent application

We are currently getting prepared to make a resource consent application for approval to develop the landfill to meet our growing city’s needs. We want to make sure we get this right, so we have been talking to interested people and organisations to find out more about the issues and the proposed solution.

The thoughts and issues raised are helping us to ensure that flora, fauna, harbour, and streams are protected, and waste continues to be managed efficiently and effectively.

How to have your say

We held two rounds of community engagement in 2022 and you can read about the details of those below.

There will be another opportunity to provide your feedback when we hold our third community engagement session in 2023. Please refer to our timeline below.

Community engagement July 2022

Our second round of community engagement sessions were held in July and sought feedback on our draft design for the extension and an update on the technical studies. Our feedback period closed on 29 July 2022.

A summary of feedback received, and associated engagement documents are available below.

Community engagement March/April 2022

Our first round of community engagement sessions was held in March with feedback closing on 14 April 2022.

A summary of feedback received, and associated engagement documents are available below.

What we're doing and when

What we are doing when v2


We need to plan ahead to ensure we have enough capacity at the landfill beyond 2026.

During 2022 we engaged with the community on the technical studies and draft design. We are planning to have our final engagement session in 2023 where we will present what we intend to file with the resource consent application.

We are intending to lodge the application in 2023. Please refer to our timeline above to see where we are at in the process.

We have been working through the process to determine how neighbours could be affected. Our intention is to minimise impacts as much as possible and the technical studies and assessment of environmental effects help us with this.

The resource consent application will need to show that any potential adverse effects are avoided, remedied, or mitigated.

The current Stage 2 landfill is approximately 300 metres from the closest house in Tawa, and around 400 metres from the fringe of the Tawa residential area.

The proposed design of the landfill development would extend the eastern boundary 30 metres closer to Tawa. We have tried to keep the extension to the eastern boundary as small as possible. You can refer to our map for an indicative illustration of these distances.

Yes, we intend to continue operating during the construction period – we might be operating in a slightly different way, but the intention is to continue to take in waste during construction.

Spicer Landfill is already visible from some residential areas in Porirua and Tawa.

We’ve modelled what the proposed landfill development will look like, using accurate drone surveys and computer simulations. We’re using this to check the views from around the landfill where it is visible.

The most affected residents will be at Kenepuru Landing and Tawa (above SH1) for residents orientated to the west. In these cases, the landfill is visible but not prominent and only forms part of the wider view. We will be assessing visual effects and checking if there is a loss of amenity to the community.

To view the simulations, refer to our video above.

This is something we’re already aware of happening and we are actively working to improve. We have constructed more litter fences and repaired existing ones, which act as a barrier. We’ve also reduced the area of open tip face operating at any one time and we are actively removing windblown litter from around the site.

Although we can’t stop it completely due to the location of the landfill, we are working hard to minimise this occurring.

Please visit our Spicer Landfill odour page to find out what we are doing about this.

The existing discharge to air consent states that there shall be no discharge of contaminants to air from Spicer Landfill that causes an adverse effect that is noxious, dangerous, offensive or objectionable at or beyond the boundary of the site.

We will be applying for a new discharge to air consent for the proposed development at the landfill with conditions of consent that are likely to be more stringent than the current one.

Find out more about the landfill resource consents here.

From the draft design and our ecological assessments, we know that some exotic pine forest and exotic and native scrub habitat types will be permanently affected by the landfill development. This will include some vegetation removal, including pine trees.

Ecologists are assessing the ecological value of these terrestrial habitats, which will be outlined in the terrestrial Ecological Impact Assessment along with recommended management measures.

Ecological protection will be a condition of our consent and is something we are committed to getting right.

The results of our stream monitoring indicate Mitchell Stream is in good health. We have increased our water quality monitoring to ensure the health of the stream continues, and to monitor for early signs of any changes in stream health. There will be conditions to protect Mitchell Stream in the new consent.

Leachate is the liquid that comes from the rubbish as it breaks down and runs through, and out of, a landfill. Currently we manage leachate by collecting it through a system of pipes and pumping it to a lined storage pond. It eventually ends up at the wastewater treatment plan for processing. We manage it this way to avoid leachate entering our waterways.

Yes, as part of the Spicer Landfill Development project we will continue to operate the recycling facilities

We are committed to reducing waste and Porirua City Council is transitioning to a low carbon, circular economy along with the rest of the Wellington region. We have a raft of waste minimisation and resource recovery initiatives underway across the city.

We’re developing a new diversion facility planned at Spicer Landfill in 2024/25. The hub will include:

  • A construction and demolition sorting centre
  • Food and green waste processing facility
  • A community resource recovery centre

Find out more about our waste minimisation initiatives here.

The main access point will stay the same but may be slightly realigned.

No, currently we don’t have any options that include incineration.

Incineration technology is more suitable when large quantities of waste are available to efficiently feed the plant, far greater than the amount of waste received by Spicer Landfill. There are also associated carbon dioxide emissions that would need to be considered.

We are aware that the landfill, like most of Wellington, is on a fault line. Designs for the extension will take this into consideration and all relevant engineering standards will be met.

Our geotechnical experts have been investigating the fault to better understand the seismic hazard and stability of the landfill. This has included borehole investigations and a site visit from GNS.

We’re currently refining our stability analysis of the landfill and obtaining other information to inform our assessment of the effects of the geological and geotechnical hazards.

There will continue to be annual increases to costs of dumping waste (just like there is now). Increases are generally tied to higher operating costs and to national initiatives such as the Emissions Trading Scheme. There is not expected to be an increase due to the landfill development.

Approximately $26 million for the construction of the landfill has been set aside in the Long-Term Plan.

We'd love to hear your views on the landfill. We plan to hold our next community engagement session in 2023. You can read about our previous engagement sessions and what we did with the feedback here.

If you’d like to be added to our community stakeholder emailing list let us know at [email protected].

We will be requesting that the resource consent application is publicly notified. That means anyone can make a submission on the application once it’s notified and can speak at the hearing if they wish. This is your opportunity to be heard in the decision-making process.

You can find out how to get involved in the resource consent process, and how it works here.

For more information

If you’ve got any questions contact us at [email protected] or on 04 237 5089.