The information below relates to Council's Ecology and Landscape Project.
Council was initally considering a change to the District Plan as part of this Project. However, at it's 29 November 2018 meeting, Council decided not to proceed with a change to the District Plan.
As a result, some of the information on this page may no longer apply. However, it has been retained on the website as relevant information for the Ecology and Landscapes Project.
View the Council meeting minutes
Ecology and Landscapes Update 5, December 2018
Ecology and Landscapes Update 4, November 2018
Ecology and Landscapes Update 3, October 2018
Ecology and Landscapes Update 2, September 2018
Ecology and Landscapes Update 1, June 2018
Hutt City Council is responsible for the identification, protection and conservation of Lower Hutt’s valuable natural areas. These range from significant ecological sites that are home to native plant and animal species through to important natural landscapes and features, coastal environments and highly-valued landscapes modified by human activity.
Council is legally required, under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) and the national and regional policy statements derived from the RMA, to ensure this natural heritage is identified and adequately preserved for future generations. There are currently limited provisions in Council’s District Plan to safeguard these areas on private land, leaving them inadequately protected.
Council staff, together with ecologists and landscape specialists, are now working to identify these sites. Changes to the District Plan are also being prepared to provide a regulatory framework, including rules and restrictions, to protect these areas. Council also envisages a range of incentives and support to affected landowners to assist them to protect and conserve identified valuable sites on their land.
Areas, Landscapes and Features:
Significant Natural Areas (SNAs)
Before European settlement, most of Lower Hutt was covered in thick forest and areas of wetland. Despite decades of development, Lower Hutt still contains numerous natural areas providing habitats for native plant and animal species.
Some of these sites are home to rare or threatened species or habitats. Native bush and scrub also have important functions such as water cleansing and erosion and flood reduction. These areas of land are called significant natural areas (SNAs). SNAs are an important part of the region’s and New Zealand’s natural heritage.
The Resource Management Act lists “the protection of areas of significant indigenous vegetation and significant habitats of indigenous fauna” as a matter of national significance. The Wellington Regional Policy Statement requires Hutt City to identify and protect indigenous ecosystems and habitats in its district plan.
There have been 116 potential SNAs identified in Lower Hutt – 56 of these are on private land.
For more detailed information on this topic please view the Significant Natural Areas FAQ section or alternatively download the Significant Natural Areas FAQ (PDF 44 Kb).
You can also view the report on the Initial Identification and Analysis of SNAs (PDF 7.8 Mb)
Coastal Natural Character
Lower Hutt has a sweeping coastline stretching 46 km from the Petone foreshore, south to Pencarrow and the Turakirae Head.
Coastal natural character describes the coastline’s natural features, including landforms, plants and animals, physical and biological process and the spiritual, cultural, scientific and visual values of the area. It includes the interaction between land and sea, flora and fauna, natural processes and patterns and how people experience the coastal environment.
The RMA defines the preservation of the natural character of the coastal environment as a matter of national importance.
As part of this review, areas of high coastal natural character have been identified around Pencarrow Head and Turakirae Head.
For more detailed information on this topic please view the Coastal Natural Character FAQ or alternatively download the Coastal Natural Character FAQ (Pdf 44 Kb)
Outstanding Natural Features, Landscapes and Special Amenity Landscapes
Outstanding natural features and landscapes are specific landforms and landscapes that are defined as exceptional or out of the ordinary.
They encompass an array of qualities that make a place visually appealing, including physical features such as indigenous vegetation, natural watercourses and natural landforms, as well as historic associations with a place.
Special amenity landscapes are highly valued and exceptional landscapes in areas modified by human activity.
The RMA lists “the protection of outstanding natural features and landscapes from inappropriate subdivision, use, and development” as a matter of national significance.
Potential outstanding natural landscapes have been identified on the South Coast, Matiu/Somes Island and Rimutaka Ranges; while Turakirae Head, Baring Head, Parangārahu Lakes, and Mākaro/Ward island Island are potential outstanding natural features. The Belmont Hills, Eastbourne Hills, Eastern Escarpment, and the Hutt River have also been identified as potential special amenity landscapes.
For more detailed information on this topic please view the Outstanding Natural Features, Landscapes and Special Amenity Landscapes FAQ section or alternatively download the Outstanding Natural Features, Landscapes and Special Amenity Landscapes FAQ (PDF 44 Kb)
The work of identifying and protecting Lower Hutt’s valuable natural areas is part of Council’s obligations under the RMA and policy statements derived from the Act.
Council’s responsibilities for identifying and protecting SNAs, outstanding natural features, outstanding natural landscapes and special amenity landscapes are governed by the RMA and the Wellington Regional Policy Statement.
Council’s obligations regarding areas of coastal natural character are required under the RMA and the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement.
Council has contacted potentially affected property owners with an invitation to discuss the potentially significant sites on their land.
Enquiries can be made to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or contact Joe Jeffries on 04 570 6905.
Interactive Map of Affected Areas
View the revised SNA Maps here.
DLA Piper legal advice (PDF 167 kb)
Community Survey - HCC Native Bush in Lower Hutt - October 2018 & Contingent Valuation (PDF 5.5 Mb)
Wildlands Consultants Report 3767g Hutt City Biodiversity (PDF 956 kb)
Significant Natural Areas FAQ (PDF 44 kb)
Outstanding Natural Features, Landscapes and Special Amenity Landscapes FAQ (PDF 44 kb)
Coastal Natural Character FAQ (PDF 44 kb)
Wildlands Consultants Report 3767d Initial Identification and Analysis of Draft SNAs (PDF 7.8 Mb)
Presentation to Briefings on Ecology and Landscapes (PDF 4.6 Mb)