6 April 2006 –For immediate use
EDS welcomes Court of Appeal Decision
The Environmental Defence Society has welcomed a Court of Appeal decision relating to mining on the Coromandel Peninsula.
In an oral decision delivered after a hearing today, the Court has allowed Coromandel Watchdog special leave to appeal a High Court judgement that constrains the ability of Councils to prohibit environmentally intrusive activities, such as mining in the Coromandel Peninsula. Watchdog was successful in getting leave to appeal after the High Court had earlier turned down an application for such leave.
The decision means that whether prohibited activity status can be used to control where mining can be undertaken on the Peninsula will now be decided following a substantive hearing before the Court of Appeal. That hearing is likely to be some months away.
In a related initiative, both the Auckland City Council and the Auckland Regional Council were granted leave to join the proceedings.
Commenting on the decision EDS Chairman Gary Taylor said EDS was happy to have been able to assist Watchdog to bring the case.
“We were always confident that there was a real issue for the Court of Appeal to consider and were pleased to assist Watchdog to bring the case,” said Mr Taylor.
“It is also pleasing that 2 councils have now joined the case. It was clear to us that it has implications for all councils around New Zealand.
“We see prohibited activity status as being increasingly used as part of the planning toolkit. It is very useful where councils want to control adverse cumulative effects over wider areas. For example, subdivision in parts of the Waitakere Ranges is a prohibited activity.
“Now the Court of Appeal will be asked to rule on the appropriateness of the use of that status.
“We will now be taking the case up again with the Thames-Coromandel District Council. It should attempt to rejoin the proceedings given that its district plan provisions are now at issue at Court of Appeal level,” Mr Taylor concluded.
Robert Enright and Andrew Braggins from Kensington Swan appeared for Watchdog.