A new approach to protect urban waterways

Anyone causing sediment to run into Christchurch’s waterways may soon be subject to an instant fine.

Regional leader Resource Management Act investigations Valyn Barrett said, "We've decided to change our approach. We have always issued infringements for non-compliant erosion and sediment control, but these have typically taken some time to issue. We are now cutting the red tape and, from mid-October, will do it on the spot instead. This will provide a more effective signal to offenders and better environmental outcomes."

The on the spot infringements approach will begin on October 15 as a pilot focusing on the construction industry around the central Christchurch and Port Hills area.

“We have seen an increased presence of construction sites across Christchurch and we need to ensure sediment isn’t going into our waterways,” said Barrett.

“Run-off from construction sites can be particularly toxic. It has a negative impact on biodiversity, potentially causing harm to fish and plants by disrupting their environments, and on water quality,” he said.

Over recent years, Environment Canterbury has worked with the construction industry, ensuring they are aware of their requirements to manage erosion and contain sediment. A number of resources have been developed for this purpose, including the Erosion and Sediment Control Toolbox website.

“We will continue to work closely with the construction industry to ensure they clearly understand their obligations and what best practice looks like, so that sites are managed well and the impact on waterways and the surrounding environment is minimised,” Barrett said.

Environment Canterbury is the first regional council to issue on the spot infringements for non-compliance. The infringement amount under the Resource Management Act is $750.

Helpful tools

Erosion and Sediment Control Toolbox

Builder’s Pocket Guide