This topic looks at the disturbance of land by excavating, replacing or placing soil or other materials. Adverse effects may arise from earthworks such as dust, erosion, and slope instability. Quarrying is covered as a separate topic (see pg 12).

Key Issues:

  • The current District Plan has broad standards for earthworks. These are not specific to activities that involve earthworks and could be more precise concerning sensitive environments or particular areas
  • Application of earthwork rules is complex, especially looking at how to calculate the amount of earthworks permissible on sites using the ratio approach instead of the volume approach
  • Stormwater channels for surface water are not always protected from earthworks
  • The District Plan has no rules, such as height, to control the visual effects of stockpiling of materials like soils and rock. Resource consents often manage this
  • Duplications exist between the District Plan and regional plans such as the Land and Water Regional Plan
  • The new National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry also sets standards for earthworks needing recognition in the reviewed District Plan
  • Earthworks can also be subject to building consent under the Building Act, and there is no exemption for this under the District Plan.

What We’re Thinking:

  • Include controls specific to earthwork activities
  • Have more restrictive earthwork thresholds for sensitive environments such as Significant Natural Areas (SNAs), and Outstanding Natural Landscapes (ONLs)
  • Change provisions to manage the amount of earthworks permissible in a year, such as volume-per-site
  • Require consent where earthworks are likely to affect stormwater channels. This can be through controls such as setbacks, maintaining the same entry and exit point of stormwater channels, or requiring consents for earthworks that could affect stormwater channels in floodprone areas
  • Introduce controls for stockpiling such as height and setbacks
  • Remove any duplication with the Regional Plan, and recognise the National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry
  • Enable any earthworks, subject to an approved building consent, where they occur 1.8m from the exterior wall, but not where they affect a sensitive environment or feature such as a waterway.

Relevant Information:
Quarrying, pg 12 (What's the Plan?)
Significant Natural Areas (in the Natural Environment Section), pg 13 (What's the Plan?)
Outstanding Natural Features and Landscapes, pg 15 (What's the Plan?)
Coastal Environment, pg 16 (What's the Plan?)