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District Court upholds Regional Council prosecution

Media Release
Friday 23 August 2013
For Immediate release

District Court upholds Regional Council prosecution

A Hutt Valley developer has been charged in the Wellington District Court for disturbance and excavation of four Hutt River tributaries.

The court heard how, in October last year, Regional Council staff carried out an inspection at an Upper Hutt site following a report by the public that stream water was running dirty.

Environmental protection officers found that a significant amount of vegetation had been cleared from the site and excavation work had been undertaken in the beds of four of the streams running across the flat parts of the Barretts Block property. As a consequence, there was a discharge of sediment (or sediment laden water) into the streams, both on site and downstream.

“Excessive sedimentation from earthworks and erosion-prone land is one of the major causes of deterioration of natural water quality in the region. If land based activities such as this are left unchecked, silt and run-off will quickly smother the watercourses - ultimately killing the plant and aquatic life,” says Council’s Manager Environmental Protection Al Cross.

“The vegetation along stream and river banks plays an important part in keeping sedimentation under control. As well as filtering run-off, waterside plants provide habitats, feeding and breeding grounds for aquatic, animal and bird life.

“I think most people, particularly developers, are aware that if they have a stream or stream bank they want to work on or around, even if modified or degraded, they should contact GWRC to find out if the waterway is legally protected and if resource consent is required for the work. I am pleased that the court has upheld our decision to prosecute.”

Malcolm Gillies pleaded guilty to excavating or otherwise disturbing, the bed of four rivers and was sentenced to a fine of $15 000 (starting point before deductions for an early guilty plea and cooperation during the investigation was $25 000).


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