This policy details the approach taken by the Timaru District Council regarding the protection and enhancement of indigenous biodiversity values within the District.
The Council has an obligation under the Resource Management Act section 6 to recognise and provide for the protection of areas of significant indigenous vegetation and significant habitats of indigenous fauna as a matter of national importance. Section 31 of the Resource Management Act requires the Council to control any actual or potential effects of the use, development, or protection of land for the purpose of maintenance of indigenous biological diversity. The primary mechanism for achieving these requirements is through provisions with the Timaru District Plan.
However, the Council is conscious that issues relating to biodiversity values are complex and such issues have the ability to impact on landowners and a wide range of stakeholders and interested parties throughout the District. Experiences both nationally and internationally show that protection and enhancement of biodiversity values is best realized through strong relationships with landowners, community support and partnerships.
The Council is committed to pursuing a suite of statutory and non-statutory measures that will collectively assist to achieve protection and enhancement of indigenous biodiversity values within the District. The Council considers that District Plan provisions are only one method to contribute to protection and enhancement. The Council has taken a simplified approach to the District Plan provisions on the basis of a commitment to achieving significant gains through non-statutory measures.
3.0 Key Definitions
- Biological diversity or biodiversity means the variability among living organisms, and the ecological complexes of which they are a part, including diversity within species, between species, and of ecosystems.
- Indigenous vegetation means naturally occurring vegetation containing plant species that are indigenous to the area/site.
- Indigenous vegetation clearance means the clearing of indigenous vegetation by any means, including grazing, cutting, crushing, cultivation, spraying, irrigation, chemical application, artificial drainage, stop banking, overplanting, over sowing, or burning.
- Significant Natural Area (SNA) means an area of land identified in the District Plan as containing areas of significant indigenous vegetation and significant habitats of indigenous fauna.
4.1 General Objective
1 Timaru District Council is committed to achieving the protection and enhancement of indigenous biodiversity values within the District.
1 The Council will implement a suite of measures to achieve protection of existing biodiversity values and an overall enhancement in biodiversity values across the District.
2 The Council will work with affected landowners, community groups and key stakeholders to ensure protection and enhancement of biodiversity values, and will support partnerships that achieve the biodiversity objective.
3 The Council will produce and implement a three yearly Biodiversity Work Programme, which sets priorities for biodiversity protection and enhancement. This will be supported by funding from the Annual Plan / Long Term Plan.
4.3 Biodiversity Methods
1 The Council will take an active role in pursuing the following provisions and approaches to achieve protection and enhancement of biodiversity values:
a) District Plan rules to manage effects on areas of significant indigenous vegetation and significant habitats of indigenous fauna.
b) Provision of free ecological surveys for identifying Significant Natural Areas on private land.
c) Financial support to private land owners of land containing a Significant Natural Area, through the “Significant Natural Area Fund”. This fund will also finance a Biodiversity Work Programme, which will be used to implement priorities for protection and enhancement of biodiversity values.
d) Rates remission for properties containing an identified Significant Natural Area.
e) Supporting applications for covenanting and purchase of land to ensure protection of biodiversity values, and assistance to ratepayers with applying for grants from other authorities or bodies for funding to protect and manage indigenous biodiversity.
f) Support for local conservation care groups and programmes.
g) Engagement with iwi.
h) Co-ordination and liaison with other agencies/parties.
i) Support for education, information, advice and encouragement where this benefits biodiversity values.
j) Ongoing use of a Biodiversity steering group to provide input from stakeholders to Council biodiversity initiatives.
k) Appropriate management of Council land and assets to protect and enhance biodiversity values on Council land.
Adopted Environmental Services Committee 24 July 2018
Last updated: 24 Feb 2021