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Earthworks - District Plan Guidelines

Within the District Plan there are rules on how much earth can be moved to or from a site. They are designed to protect the natural environment and people from the effects of more than minor earthworks.

Earthworks means the disturbance of land by moving, placing or replacing earth, or by excavation or cutting, filling or backfilling, or the removal or importing of earth (including topsoil) to or from any site, but does not include excavation associated with:

  • Tiling or cultivating of soil
  • Harvesting and maintaining of crops
  • Post holes
  • Drilling bores
  • Offal pits
  • Burial of dead stock and plant waste
  • Installation of services such as water pipes and troughs

The volume of earthworks is the sum of both cut and fill operations.

Earthworks can generate many adverse environmental effects. These can include: Sediment from earthworks entering waterways; effect on soil quality and quantity; effect on existing vegetation, outstanding natural features and landscapes; the undermining of land stability; an increased risk of flooding or making the effects of flooding worse.

While earthworks are occurring there can be problems with noise, dust and vibration, and impact from increased movement of trucks and heavy machinery on roads and vehicle crossings. In most cases sediment discharge from sites are the result of earthworks.

It is the cumulative effects (ie the combined effects from many earthworks activities) that have the potential to significantly affect the environment, and these are of major concern to Council.

Most issues related to earthworks are addressed in subdivision consent applications and in land-use consent applications where required.

For more information see the earthworks section of the District Plan: General Performance Standards and Terms.

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