National environmental standards for storing tyres outdoors

The standards provide nationally consistent rules for the responsible storage of tyres.



Lead agency


In force from

20 August 2021

Purpose of the standards

  • To ensure the risks of harm to the environment, human health and local communities from outdoor tyre storage are appropriately managed.
  • To support more consistent management practices across New Zealand, filling gaps in regulatory settings that create incentives to move tyres between regions.

Key information

National environmental standards are regulations prepared in accordance with sections 43-44 and 46A of the RMA.

The National Environmental Standards for Storing Tyres Outdoors prevail over regional and district plan rules but allow them to be more stringent. 

Regulation 3 of the standards

This deals with the effects of storing tyres outdoors that fall within the functions of regional councils under section 30 of the RMA. This is particularly related to water quality, control of discharges of contaminants into land, air or water, and the mitigation of natural hazards.

It is based on the following thresholds, with specified exemptions.

Outdoor tyre storage less than 20 cubic metres

This is a permitted activity and not subject to any permitted activity conditions of the standards.

Outdoor tyre storage 20 cubic metres or more but less than 100 cubic metres

This is a permitted activity subject to compliance with general conditions (Regulation 12 of the standards) that control the height of tyre storage and proximity to sensitive areas through minimum setback distances. Non-compliance with the permitted activity conditions will require resource consent as a restricted discretionary activity. Restricted discretionary activity status means the consent authority’s power to grant or decline a consent or impose conditions is restricted to the specified matters (as set out in Regulation 14 of the standards).

Outdoor tyre storage 100 cubic metres and more

Resource consent is required as a restricted discretionary activity. Discretion is restricted to the matters set out in Regulation 14 of the standards.

There are two exceptions to the 100 cubic metre maximum threshold for a permitted activity.

Storing tyres for silage stack covers:

  • storing tyres that are new, newly retreaded
  • awaiting retreading by a retreading business.

These exempt activities are able to store more than 100 cubic metres of tyres as a permitted activity, provided they comply with the general conditions in Regulation 12 of the standards. Storing tyres for silage stack covers must also comply with the further conditions in Regulation 13 of the standards.

Regulation 8 of the standards

The standards also apply to other uses of used tyres outdoors besides storage (eg, for engineering, landscaping or recreational uses). Regulation 8 of the standards makes an exception for tyres used in structures lawfully established before the standards comes into force.

Why the standards were developed

Approximately four million used car tyres and one million used truck and other tyres are generated annually in New Zealand. The total number of tyres entering into New Zealand each year is increasing.

A large number of end-of-life tyres will end up being stored outdoors in stockpiles due to the lack of markets for them. Storing or stockpiling tyres outdoors poses a risk of harm to the environment, human health and local communities – through the discharge of contaminants, fire risk (a low probability event with significant adverse effects), visual and amenity effects and liability issues.

There is a very limited market for resource recovery of tyres once they reach the end of their usable life. This means end-of-life tyres accumulate, and there are incentives to dispose of tyres in the cheapest way possible. There has been a lack of effective regulation to deal with the outdoor tyre storage of end-of-life tyres and the associated risks. Government intervention was needed to introduce nationally consistent rules to address the risks of outdoor tyre storage.

The standards are part of a set of initiatives to help solve the waste tyre problem in New Zealand and create a circular economy for tyres. The key initiative planned is regulated product stewardship. It will involve the tyre industry taking responsibility for the whole-of-life environmental impact of tyres.

Find out more about regulated product stewardship

Public consultation on the proposed standards was held in 2020 and 2017.