Hazards & Risks

Contaminated land

Please read the full chapter before giving us your feedback


What are the key issues we need to think about?

When disturbed, contaminated land poses a risk to the environment and to people’s health and safety.

The National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health 2011 (NESCS) contains a national rule framework for managing contaminated land. The Contaminated Land chapter of the Draft District Plan does not therefore contain any rules but does contain objectives and policies to assist Council in assessing resource consents that are required under the NESCS.

What are we suggesting in the Draft District Plan?

The control of contaminated land is shared by district and regional councils. District councils are responsible for managing changes to land under the NESCS regulations and the prevention or mitigation of any adverse effects of the development, subdivision or use of contaminated land. Regional councils are responsible for the control of discharges to the environment, such as discharges from a contaminated site to soil, air, groundwater or surface water. Regional councils are also responsible for the investigation of land for the purpose of identifying and monitoring contaminated land.

The key objective of the chapter is to manage contaminated land to minimise the risks to human health from the development and subdivision of contaminated land.

Key changes from the current rules

The current operative District Plan has no provisions specifically to deal with contaminated land. The Draft District Plan is recommending the inclusion of objectives and policies to guide the assessment of any applications required under the NESCS.

What does it mean for me?

The objective and policies in the draft chapter will assist with how resource consents are considered under the NESCS and what conditions may be imposed on a consent.

Hazardous Substances (HAZS)

Please read the full chapter before giving us your feedback

What are the key issues we need to think about?

Hazardous substances include a variety of toxic substances, such as chemicals, medical wastes, petroleum products and gases. Hazardous substances are used throughout the district for many purposes, including for commercial, industrial, rural and domestic activities. However, if not appropriately managed, their storage and use are potential threats to people and the environment.

Hazardous substance use and storage is controlled by the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (HSNO). Whilst this legislation aims to protect the health and safety of people from the adverse effects of hazardous substances, it does not take into account the sensitivity of the environment in which hazardous substances are located.

What are we suggesting in the Draft District Plan?

We are proposing to include provisions that are not addressed under HSNO to protect sensitive environments from the use and storage of hazardous substances. Sensitive environments include the Coastal Environment, Outstanding Natural Features and Landscapes, Significant Natural Areas, Sites and Areas of Significance to Māori, Heritage Items, and areas above 900m in altitude.

Whilst there are currently no identified ‘major hazard facilities’ located in the district, any new major hazard facilities would need to go through a resource consent process.

The key objective of the chapter is to recognise those benefits often associated with activities involving hazardous substances but ensuring that the risks to the environment and human health are minimised.

The Draft District Plan also contains policies to manage the location of sensitive activities such as houses, health, education or community facilities from locating within close proximity to any major hazard facilities.

Key changes from the current rules
  • The current provisions are outdated and do not implement national direction or give effect to Regional Policy Statement direction.
  • The new chapter ensures that there is no overlap with other regulations already controlling the use, storage and transportation of hazardous substances

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.

The rules in the chapter would affect where hazardous substances were used and stored, and a resource consent would be required if this was within a sensitive environment. Any new major hazard facilities would need a resource consent


Natural Hazards

Please read the full chapter before giving us your feedback

What are the key issues we need to think about?

The Waitaki district is vulnerable to a wide range of natural hazards. These hazards can affect people, property, infrastructure and the wider environment. More significantly, natural hazards can lead to a loss of human life. Therefore, it is important to recognise these hazards and to manage activities in order to limit the exposure of people, property and the environment to risk.

The effects of natural hazards vary in terms of both their likelihood and consequence. Some natural hazards may occur relatively frequently and may damage property, whereas other natural hazards occur infrequently, but when they do occur, they pose serious risk to life.

We need to avoid subdivision, use and development in high hazard areas and protect people and property from the risks associated with identified natural hazards.

Updated natural hazards information and mapping is not provided for in the current District Plan. This results in a lack of clear and accessible information about areas that are potentially vulnerable to natural hazards.

The current District Plan does not contain any rules relating to the use and development of land subject to known natural hazards such as land instability, steep slopes or active fault lines.

Geotechnical matters are not specifically addressed for earthworks that take place on sites vulnerable to land instability or located on steep slopes. This can lead to earthworks that have the potential to exacerbate the risk from natural hazards and alter overland flow paths.

What are we suggesting in the Draft District Plan? 

The Draft District Plan manages natural hazards through policies and rules attached to different hazards and overlays. The rules vary according to the type of natural hazard, the risk it poses, and the sensitivity of the activity proposed. The mapping of the natural hazard overlays is based on the best available information at the time of preparing the Plan.

A flexible risk-based approach has been adopted to address the risk associated with natural hazards. A risk-based approach to natural hazards balances allowing for people and communities to use their property and undertake activities, whilst also limiting the risk of harm to life or significant assets because of a natural hazard event. The Draft District Plan also advocates an adaptive management approach to managing natural hazards and the effects of climate change. 

Natural hazards are addressed in two chapters; the Natural Hazards chapter covers non-coastal hazards and the Coastal Environment chapter covers coastal hazards. Both chapters take the same risk-based approach to natural hazards.

The key objective of the chapter is to recognise, avoid or appropriately manage the risks from natural hazards, including the effects of climate change, and their impact on people, property and the environment.

You can view the draft overlays for natural hazards and coastal hazards here.

Key changes from the current rules

Flooding is currently the only natural hazard that is mapped in the Operative District Plan. New mapping identifies the following natural hazard areas:

  • Updated flood mapping
  • Moeraki land instability
  • Alluvial fans
  • Liquefaction
  • Surface Fault Rupture

There are new objectives, policies and rules being recommended for the above natural hazard layers.

The new chapter also includes provisions for activities in relation to wildfire risk.

What does it mean for me?

Any lawfully established existing businesses or activities have what is referred to as ‘existing use rights’ and could continue to operate unchanged.

Activities in areas subject to natural hazards would likely need a resource consent and additional technical reports may be needed in some instances to provide more information on the level of risk for what is being proposed. For example, in areas of steep slope, or where there is a risk from land instability, a geotechnical report could be required for earthworks.