Environmental status updates
The environment and planning committee meeting was held on 17 November 2016. Apologies were received from the Mayor for lateness and myself. All other councilors were present.
The agenda included: (1) biosecurity annual report, (2) enforcement policy update, (3) proposed Plan change 64 – update of protected tree schedule, (4) biodiversity report, (5) 2016 air quality report, (6) environment and planning activity report, and (7) chair’s report.
Generally, there were no decisions made other than receive reports and approve Plan Change 64.
Biosecurity annual report
The Council is obliged to report annually on activities undertaken under the Regional Pest Management Plan. This report presented the 2016-17 Operational Plan for implementing the 2012-17 Tasman-Nelson Regional Pest Management Strategy (within an approved budget of $545,000), and summarised the achievements of the 2015-16 Operational Plan.
The Regional Pest Management Strategy (RPMS) contains 62 (declared) pests. These pests are grouped into 5 categories:
Total control pests (2015-16 operational budget: $40,000, recast $35,000, actual $35,000) are high risk pests that are of limited distribution or density in the region for which long-term eradication by 2022 is the goal. There are 13 pest plants (8 terrestrial, 5 aquatic): african feathergrass, bathurst bur, boxthorn, cathederal bells, climbing spindleberry, egeria, entire marshwort, hornwort, maderia vine, phragmites, saffron thistle, senegal tea, and spartina. On all known sites, plant numbers have been reduced, but for some pests, new sites have been found and this may extend the time required for eradication.
Progressive control pests (2015-16 operational budget: $85,000, recast $75,000, actual $100,000) are pests whose distribution is limited to parts of the region but are unlikely to be eradicated because of their biological characteristics. There are 18 pests (12 plants, 5 fish, and one bird: rook). Generally, the goal of distribution and density reduction is being achieved at most sites. However, ongoing changes within the Department of Conservation, re-direction of funding and staff changes during the last two years have restricted its ability to deal with the challenge of controlling pest fish in eastern Tasman.
Containment pests (2015-16 operational budget: $120,000, recast $105,000, actual $100,000) are pests that are abundant in the region. There are 14 pests (4 plants: purple pampas, lagarosiphon, gorse, and broom; 7 mammals: feral cats, rabbits, hares, possums, mustelids; 2 insects: argentine and darwin ants; and one bird: magpie). These are widespread throughout the region and the goal is to stop the spread of these pests to properties that are not infested. The continuing spread of Argentine and Darwin’s ants, despite a significant commitment of resources, highlight the challenges of dealing with highly-organised social insects and the limitations of existing tools. A synthetic pyrethroid spray is being applied in a narrow strip along the margins of footpaths and kerbs. While this slows the rate of spread in urban areas, its effect is relatively short-term and does not prevent re-invasion from neighbouring properties. More information on both ants is located at page 10 of the agenda report.
Boundary control pests (2015-16 operational budget: $10,000, recast $10,000, actual $10,000) are pests (mostly common weeds or horticultural diseases), that have been included to stop the spread to land that is free from these pests. There are 8 plants (eg, blackberry, gorse and broom); and 5 horticltural diseases (on apples and pears). Generally, staff have dealt effectively and efficiently with requests for intervention.
Regional surveillance pests (2015-16 operational budget: $35,000, recast $30,000, actual $45,000) are pest that could pose a future risk. There are 4 pests (yellow flag, parrots feather, pinus contorta, undaria).
Other budget categories include:
Sites of high public value (2015-16 operational budget: $35,000, recast $30,000, actual $10,000). The goal is to control nominated pests on public land.
Biological control (2015-16 operational budget: $35,000, recast $30,000, actual $30,000). The goal is to support ongoing research into biological controls.
National pest plant accord (2015-16 operational budget: $4,000, recast $4,000, actual $4,000). The goal is to prevent sale, propagation or distribution of pest plants.
Education and advice (2015-16 operational budget: $75,000, recast $65,000, actual $105,000).
Marine biosecurity partnership (2015-16 operational budget: $20,000, recast $20,000, actual $20,000). Funded by 3 top of south councils ($20,000 each) and MPI ($60,000).
The 2016-17 operational plan covers 62 (declared) pests. The plan includes:
Total control pests (budget $35,000)
Progressive control pests (budget $100,000)
Containment pests (budget $100,000)
Boundary control pests (budget $10,000)
Regional surveillance pests (budget $55,000)
National pest plan accord ($4,000)
Sites of high public value ($15,000)
Biological control ($30,000)
Education and advice ($105,000)
Training and education ($90,000).
The 2012 Amendments to the Biosecurity Act outlined the requirements for pathway management plans, which are designed to be used to deal with pathways that may carry pests into new areas. The potential for pathway management is being explored as part of the current Regional Pest Management Strategy review.
Enforcement policy update
Council resolved to receive the report.
The Regional Sector Compliance Framework (RSCF) outlines a set of important principles that are designed to give a robustness to any strategic compliance programme. These principles are: transparency, consistency of process, fair, reasonable and proportional approach, evidence based and informed, collaborative, lawful, ethical and accountable, targeted, and responsive and effective.
These principles are reflected in TDC’s Enforcement Policy and Guidelines which outline the enforcement pathway expected to be undertaken, from discovery of an offence, through to the decision to take enforcement action.
The only significant change to the guidelines is the removal of the original “enforcement option matrix” that was designed assist in selecting an enforcement response along with other factors. This has now been replaced with a compliance pyramid model.
Protected tree schedule update
Council resolved to approve Plan Change 64 (Update of Protected Tree Schedule). The Plan Change was publically notified on 24 September 2016 with no submissions being received.
Plan Change 64 amends the Council’s Protected Tree Schedule 16.13B in the Tasman Resource Management Plan, by removing 10 protected trees from the Schedule. These include: Takaka (2 trees), Riwaka (4 trees), Marahau (2 trees), Richmond (1 tree), and Wakefield (1 tree).
Council resolved to receive the report.
The main focus of the Council’s biodiversity work is its Native Habitats Tasman (NHT) Project. This was developed in 2007 following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a number of parties that included the Department of Conservation, Federated Farmers, and Forest and Bird Society.
As at 30 June 2016, 504 sites had been inspected and landowners had signed off on 454 reports. The survey commenced in eastern Tasman lowlands and via the higher altitude sites on the Takaka Hill has now moved into Golden Bay (July 2016). Of the landowners who have been contacted about a site visit and preparation of an ecological report for their property, 70% have agreed. It is anticipated that completion of survey work in Golden Bay will take approximately 2 to 3 years. Current expenditure is $52,000 per year.
A copy of the final ecological district report can be downloaded from TDC’s website at: www.tasman.govt.nz/environment/land/biodiversity/motueka-ecological-districtreport/.
Air quality report
Council resolved to receive the report.
The Richmond Airshed was set up under the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality 2004 (NESAQ).
There were 5 exceedances of the NESAQ for particulate matter (PM10) over the winter of 2016. These exceedances are correlated with complaints and webcam images of outdoor burning occurring in the orchards around the Richmond airshed. The trend in annual concentrations of PM10 has improved over the last ten years, which is due to regulations on household burners, education, and enforcement. The maximum PM10 concentration for 2016 was 66 μg/m3.
A source apportionment study for Richmond has shown 52% of particulate matter is from biomass combustion, attributed to solid fuel appliances in Richmond. A source of arsenic in PM10 was also identified and was not associated with the domestic fires. The annual average arsenic concentrations for 2014 in Richmond was 19 ng/m3, which exceeded the ambient air quality guideline value (5.5ng/m3).
Air Quality PM10 BAM adjusted concentrations in Richmond for 2015-16
Trends in PM10 adjusted concentrations in Richmond
Number of Exceedances of 24-Hour PM10 for Richmond
The sources of the PM10 for Richmond (see Figure 9) were biomass combustion (52%), motor vehicles (17%), marine aerosol (16%), secondary sulphate (13%), and copper chrome arsenate (CCA) (2%).
Average source contributions to PM10 in Richmond (from GNS Science report)
There were 41 exceedances of the global world health organisation (WHO) daily guideline value for the finer fraction of particulate matter (PM2.5) over the period from May to August 2016, with a peak concentration of 46 μg/m3.
Partisol PM 2.5 concentrations in Richmond for 2015-16
The NESAQ is currently under review and TDC will need to review its air quality management provisions when the outcome is known. Based on current trends, during normal winter weather, Tasman District Council may not achieve the current requirements of the NESAQ which is no more than one exceedance per year by 2020.
Environment and planning activity report
Council resolved to receive the report and appointed Mr Mike Fitzsimons to the position of District Licensing Committee Commissioner for a 5-year term of appointment.
Highlights from the manager’s report include:
Swimming pool fencing. Parliament has passed law repealing the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act and merging the obligation Council has into the Building Act. The main change is a move to mandatory 3 yearly inspections which can be undertaken by Council staff or authorised private contractors. If the latter are involved they are required to pass information on the Council for the property file. Companion changes are also being made to the Building Code with submissions closing 16 December. Spa pools with lockable lids will not require inspection, meaning TDC will no longer have to grant exemptions under a 2014 Council-approved policy. The new law comes into effect from 1 January 2017.
National policy statement (NPS) on urban development capacity. The Government has signed off on a National Policy Statement to ensure councils provide enough land for new housing and business development. Tasman is a local authority that has a medium-growth urban area within it, which we share with Nelson City. Having sufficient land for development also means we have to provide an additional margin of 20% for the first 10 years and 15% for 10 to 30 years. Council is required to carry out a housing and business development capacity assessment on at least a 3-yearly basis. The NPS takes effect from 1 December 2017.
Waimea nitrate survey. Council has previously conducted groundwater nitrate surveys across the Waimea Plains in 1986, 1994, 1999, and 2005. Council will repeat that survey (sampling around 100 bores) starting towards the end of November 2016.
Our waters. Council prepared a State of the Environment Report on river water quality in November 2015 under its reporting obligations under the Resource Management Act. Last year the Council released a movie entitled “Our Waters in Common” as an innovative way of reporting to the community on the health of our water ways. See www.youtube.com/watch?v=81zNEmTCYVY.
Freedom camping. This matter was raised at the 27 October Council meeting and an update requested. The Government has indicated that it will review the Freedom Camping Act soon and Council has offered to assist in this review. A review of TDC’s Freedom Camping Bylaws will be undertaken after the Governments review in August 2017.
Finances. Generally, at 33% of the financial year completed, expenditure is slightly under budget overall and non-rate income overall is ahead of budget.
Agenda and minutes
the agenda and minutes are located at www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/committees-and-subcommittees/standing-committees-meetings/environment-and-planning-committee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/EnvironmentPlanningCommittee/2016/2016-11-17.
Draft minutes are available upon request from TDC.