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Positive outcome in gravel extraction case

November 5, 2009
Media Statement

Positive outcome in gravel extraction case.

Environment Canterbury will not proceed with prosecution against a Mid Canterbury farmer and an international company for illegal gravel extraction after both parties agreed to each contribute $500 towards the council’s investigation costs and make a $1500 donation to environmental charities of their choosing based in Ashburton.

The case was withdrawn in the Christchurch District Court on September 28, 2009.

Downer EDI Works Ltd uplifted approximately 600 cubic metres of gravel from a Mid Canterbury farm owned by Neville Chalmers during 2008. The gravel had already been extracted from the coastal face. This not only damaged part of the coastline but also invalidated information collected at a coastal erosion monitoring site used by Environment Canterbury compromising important long term data.

The extraction of gravel in this area of the coastline requires resource consent as the property lies within Coastal Hazard Zone 1 and this particular extraction contravened section 9 of the Resource Management Act 1991.

Following an investigation by Environment Canterbury enforcement officers in June 2008, Downer EDI Works Ltd admitted they had uplifted quarried material. The company had used the material to build an electricity substation at Bells Road, near Ashburton. Mr Chalmers admitted that he had given his permission for the removal to go ahead and that he had been paid a fee for this.

Environment Canterbury director regulation Kim Drummond said that Downer EDI Ltd agreed to participate in a public education campaign aimed at raising awareness of the obligations of resource users within the coastal marine area and coastal hazard zones. The campaign will help raise the level of community awareness of the importance of protecting Canterbury’s coastlines and sends a strong message that such work needs to be authorised by resource consent.

“Downer EDI Works Limited has prepared an information pamphlet to be delivered to local residents informing them of the requirement to obtain resource consent prior to gravel extraction occurring and Mr Chalmers placed signage on the coastal frontage of his property advising people not to extract gravel,” said Mr Drummond.

“Environment Canterbury is committed to the protection of the coastline and will continue monitoring the site and surrounding areas. Both parties realise the significance of the coastal hazard zones and the messages they are delivering to the community represents an appropriate resolution to this case.”


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