FAQs about the review of natural hazards
Natural hazards can pose a significant risk to people's lives and wellbeing as well as to buildings and infrastructure. The Resource Management Act (RMA) has recently been amended to require councils to manage significant risks from natural hazards as a matter of national importance. The Bay of Plenty Regional Policy Statement (RPS) has also been changed to set out the way in which natural hazards are to be mapped and how risks are to be identified and managed. Council must now follow the national and regional direction given.
It is important to identify land susceptible to natural hazards so that we are aware of the risks involved and can plan to reduce those risks. Recent events such as the Christchurch earthquakes and Edgecumbe flood have highlighted the need to take natural hazard risk more seriously. Councils also need to respond to new requirements in legislation within a certain time.
If a disaster happened now would you be ready? Natural hazards have the potential to cause disruption, property damage and take lives, so it is vital that you prepare now. Visit the Get Thru website to learn how to get ready, so you'll get through.
You can also stay up to date with the latest local Civil Defence and Emergency Management alerts and news at bopcivildefence.govt.nz.
Council has always sought to keep natural hazard information up to date. We are mindful of not going back to the same communities with similar reviews too soon; however we need to review all hazards across the District because our current maps are not sufficient to meet the new requirements.
We don't know exactly when the process of identifying all natural hazards will be complete but it is likely to take at least five years.
Yes, many natural hazards will be influenced by the effects of climate change such as sea level rise and the increasing intensity of rainfall. Examples of hazards affected by climate change include flooding (from extreme rainfall), coastal inundation (flooding from the sea), coastal erosion, tsunami and liquefaction.
As with any future projections, there are always going to be uncertainties. However, to ensure we get things as accurate as possible, all natural hazard maps will be based on the latest scientific knowledge and best practice. Regional and national guidance is also provided through the requirements of the Regional Policy Statement (RPS) and New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement (NZCPS). Also, when completing the mapping, the councils work with experts who can demonstrate an ability to achieve these requirements.
For an explanation of the risk assessment process, please visit the Regional Council's natural hazards webpage.
The District Plan will need to be changed to meet the requirements of the Resource Management Act (RMA) and Bay of Plenty Regional Policy Statement (RPS). Updating the District Plan will show landowners and developers what areas are subject to natural hazards and what restrictions apply within them.
Yes, but there are some restrictions. For example; in floodable areas and coastal inundation areas minimum floor levels are required for dwellings and other habitable buildings; within coastal erosion areas only one dwelling can be built per title and these must be designed to be relocatable; and in land stability areas a geotechnical report is required to ensure buildings are established on solid foundations.
I'm currently building or have just finished building on a property not identified with a natural hazard - what will it mean for me if a hazard is identified later?
If you are currently building and have the necessary consents all you need to do is ensure you complete the building works in accordance with those consents and their timeframes.
However, if the project is not completed in time and you need to re-apply for consents, you will be required to address any newly identified natural hazards. If you have finished building in accordance with the necessary consents and their timeframes, the identification of a natural hazard won't affect the building works.
Note: If you have not commenced building yet but have the necessary consent/s, you can continue with your project as per the consent/s, but may want to consider taking into account any updated natural hazard information.
A Land Information Memorandum (LIM) is a report that provides an applicant with information about what Council knows about a property that may affect it. For both sellers and buyers, a LIM may answer some important questions about the land or any buildings that are on the property. Council is required by the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 to make LIM information available to any interested party. This includes any information that Council may hold in relation to natural hazards.
Council is responsible for making sure that any information we have about your property is easily available upon request. We recommend you seek advice from a property valuation or insurance expert about any concerns you may have regarding property values or insurance.
Council plans to communicate natural hazard information in a range of ways:
- Letters to landowners
- Website updates
- Property files
- Land Information Memoranda (LIMs)
- Opportunities to e-mail, phone or meet with Council staff
For more information about the District's natural hazards including existing maps and technical reports, current and upcoming projects, and frequently asked questions for each hazard, follow the links below:
You can also visit the Regional Council's natural hazards webpage. This contains more explanation about the new approach to identifying natural hazards and the risk assessment process. It also contains a list of the natural hazards projects being undertaken by the Regional Council throughout the Region and expected timeframes
If you have any further questions, please contact Council on 0800 926 732 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.