Regional Policy Statement approved

Tuesday 18 December 2012, 5:53PM
By Environment Canterbury


Environment Canterbury announced today that Council had approved a new Canterbury Regional Policy Statement.

Commissioner Peter Skelton says the Regional Policy Statement is the key overarching document for resource management in Canterbury. “This document sets out the strategic direction for planning in the Canterbury region for the next 10 to 15 years,” Professor Skelton said.

“It provides important guidance on the way we manage resources for future generations, and embeds the Canterbury Water Management Strategy into the planning framework for the region. “The Regional Policy Statement is a major step forward in delivering a stronger planning framework for Canterbury.”

The policy statement was developed with Ngāi Tahu as Environment Canterbury’s partner and in consultation with territorial authorities, a wide range of stakeholders and the general public. It was notified in June last year.

Submissions were heard by a panel of three commissioners, chaired by former Principal Environment Court Judge David Sheppard, and including Gina Sweetman and Edward Ellison. Four appeals to the High Court were made on Council’s decisions, with one of these later being withdrawn and the others satisfactorily resolved.

Professor Skelton said the new policy statement makes some significant advances over the previous document.

“It is now much more specific and includes provisions around managing natural hazards, measuring significance for biodiversity and limitations on the use of biodiversity offsets, managing development in historic cultural and historic heritage landscapes, and focusing on consolidation of development around existing townships and settlements.

“The document is intended to provide greater certainty for developers and resource users, the community and interest groups in terms of the types of decisions they are likely to be making in future. The policy statement provides a sound framework for economic growth in an environmentally sustainable way.”

Proposed Change 1 to the current Regional Policy Statement, which provides for development in the greater Christchurch area and implements the Urban Development Strategy, is currently before the Environment Court and was not part of the review that led to the new policy statement.

The new Canterbury Regional Policy Statement will become operative on 15 January 2013. For the full text and other information, go to