Regional Council’s Flood Protection and Drainage Bylaws 2020 regulate and safeguard flood protection structures from modification, damage and misuse.

Anyone who wants to carry out work near a flood protection structure needs to consider whether they will need a Bylaw Authority (written permission) from Regional Council. In simple terms, this written permission has conditions which ensures building, digging or planting activities do not impact the structure and performance of the stopbank.

What is a flood protection structure?

Structures owned or managed by Regional Council on both public and private land and include:

  • Defences against water such as stopbanks, pump stations, flood gates
  • Erosion protection such as rock or willow protection, edge plantings and buffer zone plantings.
  • Drainage scheme drains and canals

Find out more about our flood defence structures.

What type of work might need a Bylaw Authority?

This can vary depending on what you want to do. It’s best to touch base with Council to check if the work you’re planning needs a Bylaw Authority application.

Some activities needing an authority include:

  • Subdividing a property.
  • Planting/removing trees or shrubs.
  • Building/removing fences.
  • Building/extending a house or adding a deck.
  • Constructing/removing an in-ground swimming pool.
  • Building/removing a garden shed or gazebo.

Please refer to the full bylaws for all activities.

It’s not a one size fits all

Depending on where you live in the region, the distances where the rules may apply will differ. If in doubt, fill in our Bylaw Authority form and we will get back to you with advice specific to your property.

Living near the Edgecumbe or Thornton stopbanks the distances are:

Within 200 metres from the stopbank if you are doing any earthworks.

Within 12 metres from the stopbank if you are planting, building structures, or removing plants or structures.

Living near the Ōpōtiki stopbank the distances are:

Within 40 metres from the stopbank if you are doing any earthworks deeper than 300 millimetres (that’s a standard ruler).

Within 12 metres from the stopbank if you are planting, building structures, or removing plants or structures.

stopbanks diagramLiving near the Whakatāne town stopbank the distances are:

Within 40 metres from the stopbank if you are doing any earthworks deeper than 300 millimetres (that’s a standard ruler).

Within 12 metres from the stopbank if you are planting, building structures, or removing plants or structures.

Frequently asked questions

Anyone who wants to carry out work near a flood protection structure needs to apply for a Bylaw Authority before any work is started.

A Bylaw Authority is essentially written permission from Regional Council with certain conditions attached that a landowner must do to ensure the flood protection structure is not damaged or compromised.

The bylaws aren’t in place to stop people from doing any work on their land, but instead ensure any work carried out doesn’t inadvertently affect the integrity of the flood protection structure or drain – which help keep us all safe in major floods.

You can check online whether you’ll need a Bylaw Authority

An area where the bylaws apply and landowners must apply for authority before starting certain activities.

You can use our online form to check if your property is within a Flood Protection and Drainage Bylaws bylaw applicable area and/or apply for a bylaw authority.

There is no fee for a standard applications although additional charges may apply for technical review or advice.

Defences against water is a term used to describe a man-made structure intended to protect against flooding. This includes stopbanks, weirs, floodgates or pump stations.

Earthworks is any activity that disturbs soil deeper than 300 mm, including but not limited to, any activity that exposes, disturbs, places, deposits or removes soil.

The Local Government Act 2002 requires all bylaws to be reviewed every ten years.

This ensures the rules are still fit for purpose, informed by the latest science and data and informed by experience from previous floods.

The Flood Protection and Drainage Bylaws were last reviewed in 2020.