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Draft Regional Policy Statement moves towards next phase

December 21, 2010

MEDIA STATEMENT

Draft Regional Policy Statement moves towards next phase.

Environment Canterbury received feedback from 57 parties, including stakeholders, district councils, industry groups and members of the public on the Draft Regional Policy Statement during the past two months.

The statement sets out objectives, policies and methods to address the region’s resource management issues for the next 10 to 15 years and integrates the Canterbury Water Management Strategy within the Resource Management Act planning framework.

Commissioner Peter Skelton said Environment Canterbury undertook this initial round of public consultation as it was important to involve the community and receive feedback early in the planning process ahead of the formal notification process early next year.

“There was support in the feedback for many of the approaches to resource management in Canterbury that were set down in the draft statement, however there are likely to be changes as a result of the feedback we received.

“How we plan for our towns, villages and communities featured highly in the feedback received. Support was given for recognition of the effects of unplanned urban and rural-residential growth in the region, which can place economic and sensitivity pressures on our rural industries. There were also calls to recognise Canterbury’s significant renewable energy resources.”

Freshwater management was also another key issue which drew significant feedback, in particular supporting the approach of integrated management that has been developed in the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.

“It is likely that a number of changes will be required to better support the approaches outlined in the strategy,” said Commissioner Skelton. “This will ensure that Canterbury optimises the economic benefits of water use while maintaining and enhancing the quality of the environment. We need to ensure that today’s decisions on freshwater management are in the interests of our future generations.”

Commissioner Skelton said that work will also be required to address the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement (2010) which was gazetted in November.

The Regional Policy Statement is expected to be publicly notified early in the New Year.

A copy of the Draft Regional Policy Statement and more information is online at http://ecan.govt.nz/our-responsibilities/regional-plans/rps/Pages/draft-rps.aspx

ENDS

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