Emerging Planners Congress

REDUCING RISK: WHAT CAN PLANNERS DO?

Tuesday 31st March,  11.00 -11.45

Many planners in New Zealand are familiar with the situation of existing communities facing natural hazard risk that is increasing due to climate change. Does the RMA provide local authorities with the tools to respond to this situation? How can we plan to reduce risk to existing communities from climate change and natural hazards? A significant piece of research has found that there is much that can be done under the current planning system, while noting that uncertainty and confusion about some aspects is limiting what is currently being achieved. This presentation will cover how two key instruments, Regional Policy Statements (RPSs) and regional land use rules in regional plans, can be used to reduce risk through the management of existing uses. The importance of RPSs for setting a specific objective to reduce risk to existing communities, and to clarify roles and responsibilities for managing existing uses, will be outlined. Regional land use rules are able to manage existing uses to reduce risk from climate change and natural hazards. Possible rule frameworks will be put forward to illustrate how this might be done. The options for using activity status, durations of consent, and consent conditions will be discussed, for achieving risk reduction through either a reactive, proactive and gradual, or proactive and immediate process. How these rules interact with s 85 of the RMA, which regulates how far a planning provision can go in restricting the use of private property, will also be canvased. A key recommendation to local authorities facing this challenging situation is that the use of rules to reduce risk should be proactive and begun well in advance of the need for a complete withdrawal or retreat from an area.

Presenter:  Emily Grace

Co-Authors:  Ben France-Hudson & Margaret Kilvington

EMILY GRACE
Senior Planner, Queenstown Lakes District Council

Emily is a planner with over 15 years of experience, covering resource consenting, policy development and planning research. This presentation is based on research undertaken while Emily worked at GNS Science, researching how land use planning can be used to manage risk from natural hazards and climate change. Emily has worked in local and cental government and as a consultant planner, and is currently a Senior Planner at Queenstown Lakes District Council.

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