15 September 2016

As another earthworks season rolls around, Regional Council is reminding people that if they’re planning any earthworks, they should check the rules as they may need to apply for resource consent first.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Pollution Prevention Officer Mike Caldwell said that seasonal restrictions, along with a range of other plan rules and consent conditions, are in place to reduce the chance of erosion and sediment entering local waterways and estuaries. 

“The consented earthworks season takes place between 15 September to 1 May as this is when ground and weather conditions are most favourable. Without careful earthworks management, mobilised sediment can make waterways murky,  smother wildlife, silt up harbour channels and encourage algae or mangrove growth.”

“It’s important for anyone undertaking consented or permitted earthworks to check that they have all the right structures, diversions and sediment retention devices in place to effectively deal with the works ahead,” he said.

Anyone that’s unsure of the earthworks rules or their consent requirements can access free advice by calling Regional Council’s Pollution Prevention team on 0800 884 880.

Mr Caldwell said that Regional Council staff are also working on new ways to reduce sediment run-off from other land-use activities.

“Our Land Management team helps landowners with fencing, planting and land conversions to protect steep land and river banks from erosion. We are trialling new methods for stopping sediment run-off from farm land, such as use of detention bunds, wetlands, seep and grass filter strips. We’re also monitoring changes in sediment accumulation patterns to measure improvements and identify new problem areas,” he said.

Rule 1 of the Bay of Plenty Regional Water and Land Plan provides guidance on earthworks consent requirements. The plan can be viewed at /media/433910/chapter-9-regional-rules.pdf