Why are SNAs important?

SNAs are typically remnants of vegetation that were formally widespread and have high biodiversity value. They are critically important for preventing the extinction of rare species and ecosystems, allowing insects and birds to move across productive landscapes and as a source of the seeds, invertebrates and micro-organisms we need to effectively restore our native ecosystems.

Protecting SNA’s is important in ensuring the ongoing viability of biodiversity in the District, the wider region or at a national level. Due to this there are a number of legislative requirements for Council regarding SNAs.

Council is required to recognise and provide for the protection of areas of significant indigenous vegetation and significant habitats of indigenous fauna under Section 6(c) of the Resource Management Act (RMA). Council is also required to maintain indigenous biodiversity under Section 31 of the RMA by managing activities that may cause damage.

The Council must also give effect to the Canterbury Regional Policy Statement 2013 (CRPS) which requires objectives, policies and rules to be included in the Proposed District Plan that identify and protect significant natural areas.

The CRPS also outlines criteria for determining what constitutes a significant natural area. For a site to be considered significant, it must meet at least one of the criterion outlined in the CRPS. To view this criteria, please view Appendix 3 of the Canterbury Regional Policy Statement.

We also note that the National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity, which comes into effect in April, is likely to place further requirements on Councils around identifying and listing SNAs.