Please read the full chapter before giving us your feedback
What are the key issues we need to think about?
The District Plan currently has no controls over earthworks in the residential, rural residential, township or commercial zones. Earthworks in all zones have the potential to create adverse effects if they are not managed to control sediment run-off and can damage natural landforms, biodiversity, and areas that are important to the community, including mana whenua. Earthworks can also result in large stockpiles of removed material that can affect visual amenity and cause dust problems.
Currently, any earthworks over 50m2 in area require a resource consent in the rural zones. This low threshold often means that otherwise permitted activities need a resource consent solely for earthworks. This creates additional time and cost for an activity that may have low environmental effects.
Mining, quarrying and gravel extraction activities can often generate effects that are experienced beyond their site boundaries, such as noise, dust, vibration, damage to roads and traffic safety.
What are we suggesting in the Draft District Plan?
Earthworks would be permitted activities if they complied with certain standards and did not take place within sensitive environments. Area thresholds are recommended for all zones – anything above these thresholds would need a resource consent. Earthworks in sensitive environments, or didn’t meet the standards for area, depth, slope or were close to waterways, would need a resource consent.
Small scale gravel extraction and other aggregate operations would generally be permitted where these are on-site farm pits and did not transport the aggregate off-site - there are standards that would need to be met. Large scale extraction would need a resource consent.
Most mining activities would need a resource consent.
The Macraes Mine area is addressed in a separate chapter - Special Purpose Zone – Macraes Mine.
You can view the full draft chapter here(PDF, 445KB)
Key changes from the current rules
Earthworks provisions are to be combined into one chapter to enable ease of understanding.
Earthwork controls would apply to all zones and not just the Rural Zones.
On-site farm pits would be permitted to allow farming activities to extract aggregate subject to various standards including a requirement for rehabilitation.
What does it mean for me?
Any lawfully established existing businesses or activities would have what is referred to as ‘existing use rights’ and could continue to operate unchanged.
Maximum threshold allowances for earthworks are being recommended for each zone. These vary between zones, for example within the General Rural Zone there is an upper limit of 500m2 of earthworks that can take place without needing a resource consent (as long as other standards and conditions are met). For the Residential Zones the recommended upper limit is 300m2. In general, as long as earthworks are not taking place in a sensitive environment and the relevant thresholds, standards and conditions are complied with, no resource consents would be needed.
A resource consent would be needed for any earthworks in sensitive environments such as Coastal Protection Areas, Outstanding Natural Features and Landscapes, Significant Natural Areas, Wāhi Tūpuna etc unless these were for repair and maintenance purposes or undertaken for conservation related activities. Please note that the overlay chapters also contain specific provisions for earthworks.
For quarrying activities, on farm borrow-pits would not need a resource consent as long as they comply with standards including volume of extraction, location, setbacks, hours of operation etc.