Proposed Plan Change 2022
Environment Southland is proposing and seeking views on new measures to manage the increase in commercial activities in the Fiordland waters, in advance of the wider Regional Coastal Plan review being completed. The changes will help the long-term sustainable management of the area and to protect the natural character, landscape, biodiversity, and wilderness of the world heritage site.
Public notification of the proposed plan change can be found here.
The proposal centres around Section 16.2 of the Regional Coastal Plan for Southland, which manages surface water activities within the Fiordland coastal marine area.
The draft Plan Change introduces changes to Section 16.2 (the section that manages commercial surface water activities) of the Regional Coastal Plan (RCP).
A summary of the proposed changes is included in the table below:
Purpose and impact
Add Policy 16.2.2
Avoid adverse effects on nationally and regionally significant values
Use of the phrase “avoid” sets a high bar of protection for these values.
Specifically directs that new consents will not be granted where any adverse effects on those values.
Enabling ongoing discussion of this matter through the remainder of the Regional Coastal Plan review.
Add Policy 16.2.3
Avoid or mitigate adverse effects on marine mammals
Provides additional protection for marine mammals including significant habitat areas for the endangered bottlenose dolphin.
Delete Policy 16.2.4
Removes “no limits on the SWA in Milford Sound/Piopiotahi” as the new policies conflict with this.
Amend Policy 16.2.6
Insertion of “including the use of dual place names”
Clarifies an existing policy which calls for “fiords correctly referred to”.
Amend Policy 16.2.8 to 16.2.7
“Manage adverse effects of commercial SWA in Fiordland”
Specifically provides protection for remote and wilderness values whilst maintaining recreational activities.
Add Policy 16.2.8
“Impacts on wilderness and remoteness values”
Direction for consent applicants and processing officers of the specific matters that require recognition when considering impacts of activities on wilderness and remoteness values.
Amend Policy 16.2.11
Additional consideration of adverse effects on the National Park
Must “have regard to the Fiordland National Park Management Plan”.
Add Policy 16.2.15
Consent term direction
To provide guidance for staff and applicants to ensure consent terms reflect specific nature of the proposed activity and its effects.
Increased strengthening of the consent requirements
Inserts a non-complying activity status for more remote areas and aims to ensure no further intensification of SWA.
We are seeking to tackle pressures on the area by putting in place rules to control increases in commercial activities and to strengthen other measures aimed at protecting the area and the wildlife. Measures include halting the granting of new or additional consents in the area.
The increasing pressure these activities were placing on Fiordland were raised with Environment Southland via their partners. In response, the Council commissioned a report into the impact that increase was having on the area. The conclusion of that report showed that, if unchecked, the continuous increase in commercial activity could have a negative impact on the natural and wilderness values of Fiordland.
Some impacts identified relate to seeing other boats, more boats present in the more remote fiords and staying for longer, increased use of aircraft for access to boats, crowding on moorings and anchorages, and a potential loss of boatie etiquette on the water.
The report provides the supporting technical basis for this proposed change to the Regional Coastal Plan.
If you wish to make a submission on the proposed plan then you can access our online consultation portal here.
Alternatively you may make a submission by sending a written or electronic submission to the Southland Regional
Council (Environment Southland) at:
- Environment Southland, Private Bag 90116, Invercargill 9840, Attention: Regional Coastal Plan Change
- By email to email@example.com
- You can also deliver your submission to Environment Southland’s office on the corner of Price Street and North Road, Waikiwi, Invercargill.
The process for this plan change involves three periods of consultation. The first consultation will took place from 1 April until 27 April and involved key stakeholders who have an active interest in the changes being proposed. The current consultation period will take place from the 18th July until the 29th August.
After each of these consultations, adjustments will be made to the proposals based on the feedback received.
If you have any further questions then check out our FAQ on this plan change here