What we are doing
Planning requirements to consider and adapt to the impacts of climate change when maintaining or building new infrastructure such as roads, sewerage, storm water or flood protection systems, are in place through the Regional Policy Statement, Regional Coastal Environment Plan, and other plans administered by Bay of Plenty Regional Council.
Many of Regional Council’s current environmental enhancement and protection activities such as planting, wetland restoration, promoting sustainable farm practices, erosion protection, sustainable transport promotion, and hybrid bus and vehicle trials, have benefits for emissions reduction and carbon sequestration. They also help to build climate change resilience in our region.
Regional Council is also committed to supporting central government initiatives to develop greenhouse gas reduction policies, deliver on national emission reduction targets emissions, and transition towards a low carbon economy and resilient New Zealand.
Through the 2017 Local Government Leaders’ Climate Change Declaration, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, along with other local city and district councils, has committed to developing a climate change action plans that will:
- promote walking, cycling, public transport and other low carbon transport options;
- work to improve the resource efficiency and health of homes, businesses and infrastructure in our district; and
- support the use of renewable energy and uptake of electric vehicles.
A Bay of Plenty 2015/16 community carbon footprint report (pdf, 2.89MB) was produced for the region in December 2017. The report expands on work initiated by Tauranga City Council. It uses best practice methods to quantify and identify carbon emission sources for all Bay of Plenty districts so that local councils and communities can start to identify further options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The carbon report found that:
- Per capita carbon emissions across the region are below the national average
- 2015/16 carbon emissions were higher than average for some rural districts, mainly due to forest harvest timing. The overall carbon balance of the Bay of Plenty forestry sector is expected to be relatively neutral over a 50-100 year planting and harvest cycle.
- Local emissions sources are generally proportional to the settlement patterns and economic activities that currently support local jobs and livelihoods:
- This includes farming and forestry in rural areas such as Ōpōtiki and Western Bay of Plenty.
- For urban areas such as Tauranga City, transportation and energy consumption associated with urban living, industrial activities and port traffic are key sources.
The needs, impacts and issues associated with climate change will vary for each area and community, so local action planning will be led by each local council.
More information on Regional Council's climate change work is outlined below and in our Long Term Plans.
A resource kit focused on farmer perspectives, "Adapting to Climate Change in Eastern New Zealand - A farmer perspective", is available in all public libraries in the Bay of Plenty.
Long-time Bay of Plenty residents may have noticed strange and interesting changes in the natural environment over the past few decades.
Any change in the climate will affect the habitat and distribution of plants, birds, insects and animals. Bay of Plenty Regional Council has studied the biotic effects of climate change in the region. Download the summary brochure and the report on the study below.
We're continuing to research the potential effects of climate change. Climate change is included when assessing protection needs for flood schemes.
The “Climate Effects Consolidated Report” looks at climate change and cycles for the Bay of Plenty, presented in the context of their application to river schemes for consideration in the long-term sustainability of these schemes.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council works closely with Coast Care groups, which promote the restoration of coastal dunes, to enhance the natural buffer between coast and land.
Climatic variation can influence storminess, wave conditions sediment supply and coastal processes such as erosion. Future changes in climate will alter these processes in the coastal environment, but in many instances there needs to be more data to accurately assess impacts. This also applies to sea level rise which has been rising at a historical rate of around 1.8mm/year. Until more information becomes available on rates of vertical land movement throughout the Bay of Plenty and any acceleration that could occur with global climate change, then accurate local impact assessment is not possible. In the meantime the current global estimate is considered appropriate and it is recommended that for planning purposes an allowance of 0.9 m for 2100 is used (as adopted in the Regional Policy Statement).
The Regional Coastal Environment Plan encourages prudent land use planning and has an objective of "no increase in the total physical risk from coastal hazards". Read more about planning and coastal hazards.
Civil Defence and Emergency Management
The risk posed by some natural hazards is steadily increasing as a result of climate change. The natural hazards of concern are flooding, landslides, coastal erosion, storm surge and wind damage. Any increase in intensity will increase the amount of water to be held by a river channel and increase the amount of runoff from developed areas resulting in an increased risk of flooding.
The townships most at risk are those on the floodplains of the eastern Bay of Plenty, where ranges are close to the coastal plain and rivers rise rapidly. Increased rainfall intensity may result in an increased number of landslides and debris flows. An increase in extreme weather events will increase the risk of damage and erosion from storms.
Councils provide a wider range of services which will be impacted by climate change. We take part in case studies, and share information and knowledge with others to better understand how to adapt to climate change.