The Regional Coastal Environment Plan promotes sustainable management of the natural and physical resources of the Bay of Plenty's coastal environment. 

Please note: when viewing the Operative Bay of Plenty Regional Coastal Environment Plan, please also consider the Proposed Plan (available below).  

Operative Bay of Plenty Regional Coastal Environment Plan

The Plan covers the entire coastal environment including the coastal marine area (the area between mean high water spring tides and the '12 mile limit' of the territorial seas) and the land backdrop. It includes:

  1. Rules to regulate some activities in the coastal marine area. This includes building of structures, disturbance of the foreshore or seabed, reclaiming the sea, discharging contaminants and other activities. These activities generally require a coastal permit from Council before they can be undertaken.
  2. Policies about important environmental issues on land adjacent to the sea. This includes issues relating to the natural character and landscape of the coast, public access and coastal hazards. These policies do not regulate people's activities directly but provide guidance in the preparation of district plans and consideration of resource consents.
  3. Fifteen schedules including site specific information on coastal values (including landscape, vegetation, bird habitat, conservation areas and culturally significant areas), development plans for the Ports of Tauranga and Whakatāne, water quality standards and environmental monitoring.

The operative Regional Coastal Environment Plan (amended 22 February 2011) will remain active until the new plan is approved.

The planning maps cover the entire coastal strip of the region, including harbours and offshore islands and land backdrop at a scale of 1:25 000. The maps identify many of the special values of the coast that need protecting.

Coastal Marine Area and River Mouth Boundary Agreement 2008

Council, territorial authorities and the Minister of Conservation are required to agree on the location of river mouths in the region, which are then used to establish the boundary of the coastal marine area in rivers that enter the sea.

The Coastal Marine Area Boundary and River Mouths were redefined in 2008 by a new agreement signed by the relevant territorial authorities (Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Tauranga City Council, Whakatāne District Council and Ōpōtiki District council), Council and the Department of Conservation (acting on behalf of the Minister of Conservation). These boundaries replace those included in the Second Schedule of the Regional Coastal Environment Plan shown on the planning maps.

The following signed agreement and maps are available for you to download:

Maps 1-10 Maps 11-20 Maps 21-30
Map 1 Waiau River Map 11 Kaituna River Map 21 Otara River
Map 2 Uretara Stream Map 12 Wairoa River Map 22 Waiaua River
Map 3 Tuapiro Creek Map 13 Waimapu Stream Map 23 Tirohanga River
Map 4 Nguturu (Te Mere) stream Map 14 Waitahanui River Map 24 Torere River
Map 5 Te Mania Stream Map 15 Tarawera River Map 25 Hawai River
Map 6 Aongatete Stream Map 16 Rangitāiki River Map 26 Mōtū River
Map 7 Wainui River Map 17 Whatatāne River Map 27 Waikakariki (Haparapara)
Map 8 Stream near Apata Map 18 Nukuhou River Map 28 Kereu River
Map 9 Waipapa River Map 19 Waiotahi  Map 29 Raukōkore 
Map 10 Te Puna Stream Map 20 Waioeka River Map 30 Whangaparoa River

Provisions relating to restricted coastal activities were removed from the Regional Coastal Environment Plan on 22 February 2011 in accordance with the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010.

Proposed Regional Coastal Environment Plan

On 30 October 2018, Council adopted the Proposed Regional Coastal Environment Plan and agreed for it to be referred to the Minister of Conservation for her approval.

This version of the Proposed RCEP incorporates Environment Court decisions, consent orders, mediation agreements and minor amendments:

Legal effect of rules

From 12 May 2017 all rules in the Coastal Plan have legal effect. This means that all rules which are beyond appeal are treated as operative and used to determine whether resource consents are needed for activities in the coastal marine area.

Back in 15 May 2014, Council determined to delay the legal effect of the rules. Now  that most of the appeal points relating to the rules have been resolved, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council decided at its meeting on 29 March 2017 to rescind its earlier decision.

Council's decision was publicly notified on 11 April 2017 and will not affect any unresolved appeals.

Appeals to the Proposed Regional Coastal Environment Plan

Last updated 21 June 2019

Two outstanding appeal matters are yet to be fully resolved. These are geographically discrete topics.

Outstanding appeal topics:

  • Topic 5 - Matakana Island (ENV-2015-348-000038) Interim Environment Court decision 7 September 2017. A final decision from the Environment Court on amended wording is pending
  • Topic 12 - Providing for tangata whenua aspirations / Marine Spatial Planning (ENV-2016-348-000040) - interim Environment Court decision received 11 May 2018. Court of Appeal hearing on jurisdictional matters to be heard 9 July 2019. Final Environment Court decision expected by December 2019.

The following decisions have been made by the Environment Court following an Environment Court hearing:

The following points of appeal have been resolved by way of consent order. Another consent order has been drafted but will not be granted until the rest of the natural heritage provisions are finalised:  

Statutory acknowledgements

The Ngā Whakaaetanga-ā-Ture ki Te Taiao ā Toi (Statutory Acknowledgements in the Bay of Plenty) is a compendium document to be read as an attachment to and in conjunction with the Operative Regional Coastal Environment Plan including any proposed regional plan or policy statement, and any variation or change notified by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. Check out the Statutory Acknowledgements for more information.

Order a copy of the Operative Coastal Plan

The Plan is available to view at Bay of Plenty Regional Council offices, all public libraries throughout the Bay of Plenty and service centres of Bay of Plenty's City and District Councils.

If you need a hard copy, the costs are below (prices include GST):

  • Volume 1 (Text) - $40
  • Volume 2 (Maps) - $90

Order a copy here.

Key contact

Get in touch with Michal Akurangi regarding the Regional Coastal Environmental Plan on 0800 884 880, ext 9285.