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Review for region's Coastal Plan

Thursday, 22 December 2011 12:00 p.m.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council is undertaking a full review of its Regional Coastal Environment Plan, which sets rules on activities in the coastal marine area and contains policy for this area and land dominated by the coast.

The Regional Council is also seeking to change parts of its Proposed Regional Policy Statement to ensure it is consistent with the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010. The two plan processes will initially run in parallel. Changes to the Regional Policy Statement (RPS) will be incorporated using a variation process well before the full review of the Regional Coastal Environment Plan is complete.

Regional Council Planning Frameworks Manager David Phizacklea said local authorities must ensure they give effect to the Regional Policy Statement in their planning and policy documents and it was important that the RPS be consistent with national policy requirements.

"The RPS lists significant resource management issues for the Region, and contains policies and methods to address these issues. Its provisions must be given effect to in the Regional Coastal Environment Plan and District Plans," he said.

A new Regional Policy Statement was released for public submissions in November 2010. All submissions have now been heard, and the Hearing Committee is currently making decisions on the content of the new RPS. The Regional Coastal Environment Plan has been operative since July 2003.

"The proposed RPS pre-dates the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010, and the two documents are not entirely consistent. Some submitters to the proposed RPS raised these inconsistencies, but even if we were to give effect to all of these submissions, a number of areas in the proposed RPS would still be inconsistent so a formal variation is required."

"We may need to identify, map and protect important features, so we will be consulting with a number of people and this part of the review is likely to generate public interest. We may need to consider how truly integrated our management of activities in the coastal environment is, and how different agency requirements can be accommodated.

"The NZCPS requires more integrated planning, identifying areas inappropriate for development on our coast, while enabling activities such as aquaculture and providing for ports as part of the region's infrastructure network. We also need to better prescribe recreational use and access and look at restoration of natural character and improving water quality," he said.

"The Regional Coastal Environment Plan review will consider a much wider range of matters than changes to the NZCPS, including whether particular rules, policies and methods are as effective as they could or should be. Early indications are that the RCEP will require a significant overhaul."

"Both plan processes concern the coastal environment, and their scope overlaps. In the first phase of consultation, key stakeholders will be asked for preliminary comments and meetings will be held in February 2012," Mr Phizacklea said.

The variation to the Regional Policy Statement is expected to be notified in May next year for public submissions. Consultation on the Regional Coastal Environment Plan will be undertaken at the same time in early 2012, with a final review report in June. If the Regional Council decides to replace the current plan then a new plan will be notified for public submission following further input from stakeholders and the public.

Ends

For further media information please contact Planning Frameworks Manager David Phizacklea on direct dial 0800 884 881 ext 8327 or (021) 814 153, or Linda Thompson, Senior Communications Advisor, on direct dial 0800 884 881 ext 8149 or (021) 923 339.

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