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More earthworks for kiwifruit orchards

14 February 2006

More earthworks for kiwifruit orchards

For immediate release: Tuesday 14 February 2006

Large-scale earthworks activity has risen sharply in the Bay of Plenty over the past year.

However, this time, the growth has not been in Tauranga but in other parts of the region.

Environment Bay of Plenty recently reported on its monitoring of large-scale earthworks over the 2004/2005 season. Principal compliance officer Steve Pickles told the regulation and monitoring committee that staff had monitored a total of 123 sites, 35 more than the previous year.

It was another “substantial jump”, up from 88 in 2003/2004 and 54 the in the 2002/2003 season.

Mr Pickles said the increase was partly due to a growing number of new residential subdivisions in the Rotorua and Whakatane districts. However, a stronger factor was the escalation in rural land being re-contoured for kiwifruit in the eastern and central Bay of Plenty.

Although activity in Tauranga remained high with 65 sites, it did not grow significantly. “By far the biggest increase is in the number of sites out of the Tauranga area. During the reporting period, almost half of the sites monitored were outside the city limits.”

Mr Pickles said the trend seemed to have continued in more recent months.

Large-scale earthworks generally involve land development for residential subdivision, re-contouring of land for horticultural use and road works. Staff usually meet with earthworks consultants, contactors and consent holders at the site before work begins. They then carry out regular inspections and respond to public complaints when necessary.

Last season’s standard was generally on par with the previous year, with 95% complying adequately with the conditions imposed on them. Staff issued eight formal warnings (abatement notices) and five instant fines (infringement notices) during the season. There were no prosecutions.

Mr Pickles said increased compliance monitoring and innovative seminars should help improve compliance levels even further.

ENDS

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