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Regional council impressed by earthworks shutdown

Regional council impressed by earthworks shutdown

The winter shutdown of earthworks sites has gone well in the Bay of Plenty this year, in spite of bad weather.

Environment Bay of Plenty is pleased with the way most earthworks contractors made their sites safe in good time for the deadlines set for them. “We’ve been very impressed with the level of compliance,” says principal compliance officer, Steve Pickles. “Most of the consent holders did a good job of stabilising their sites. They are taking care to protect the environment.”

It had been a difficult year for earthworks contractors because of the wet weather from February on. Many sites around Tauranga had to close for most of March and April. This meant contractors worked right up to the end of the bulk earthworks season in late May. “They were under a lot of pressure but most still managed to meet their closedown requirements,” Mr Pickles explains. This usually involves stabilising the site with grass or other material, such as mulch or metal. It helps stop sediment from washing off site and into waterways.

Environment Bay of Plenty sets deadlines for different types of cover. For example, contractors must usually finish topsoiling and grassing a site by April 30. If not grassed, they must complete hydro-seeding by mid-May and putting on hay or mulch by May 31.

Most earthworks draw to a halt between June and September because of land use consent restrictions. However, Environment Bay of Plenty’s Winter Earthworks Policy does allow some earthworks to carry on, Mr Pickles says. Usually, that is only when the site has sandy soil and is fairly flat, or when stormwater stays on-site.

However, he points out, even more stringent conditions are set for winter earthworks. These make sure the environment is not put at risk.

For earthworks information, call Environment Bay of Plenty on 0800 ENV BOP (368 267) or go to wwww.envbop.govt.nz.

Ends

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