Natural Hazard Risk in the Bay of Plenty Regional Policy Statement
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council has prepared and made operative Change 2 (Natural Hazards) to the Bay of Plenty Regional Policy Statement. The Change guides those preparing regional, city and district plans; and those considering resource consent applications in managing land use and associated activities according to their level of natural hazard risk.
When embarking on the preparation its second generation regional policy statement, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council decided to take a risk management approach to the avoidance or mitigation of natural hazards. A risk approach allows resource managers to assess when avoidance or mitigation is required and, if so, how much. It provides a consistent assessment approach across all natural hazards.
Appeals on its first attempt showed that, while there was support for a risk management approach, broader risk criteria and guidance on assessing risk were needed. The Bay of Plenty Regional Council decided to prepare a variation (later Change 2) to the Bay of Plenty Regional Policy Statement through an integrated project including key parties as partners.
The involvement of natural hazard planning thought leaders Wendy Saunders and Gerard Willis, expert planning project manager Namouta Poutasi and Regional Planner Martin Butler has resulted in an innovative and robust strategic risk management approach to the avoidance and mitigation of natural hazards in the Bay of Plenty region. The collaborative project team developed and conducted purpose-built community engagement for a specific end, and oversaw the preparation of a comprehensive policy framework and detailed guidance.
The process has been ground breaking in New Zealand. The Bay of Plenty Regional Council has translated a comprehensive risk approach to the management of natural hazards into a formal regional-level strategic policy instrument for the first time. The natural hazard risk provisions of the Bay of Plenty Regional Policy Statement are the latest contribution to best practice.
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