This chapter deals with how activities involving infrastructure, renewable energy, waste*, hazardous substances*, versatile soils and contaminated land will be addressed. In general, this chapter provides broad policy guidance for managing these activities. Where appropriate, specific policy relating to these activities is integrated into the resource-based chapters of this Plan.

Infrastructure and other physical resources of regional or national importance

The Regional Council recognises that some infrastructure and other physical resources are regionally or nationally important. The establishment, operation*, maintenance* and upgrading* of infrastructure and infrastructure corridors is critical to the economic wellbeing of the Region and the nation. However, infrastructure can have adverse effects on the environment and other activities can have reverse sensitivity adverse effects on infrastructure.

There can be logistical or technical constraints on where infrastructure must be located to serve communities and operate efficiently. Urban growth should be integrated with infrastructure provision. The Regional Council wants to ensure the benefits of infrastructure are recognised and appropriately weighed along with other matters in decision-making processes.


Access to reliable and sustainable energy supplies is essential to the way society functions. People and communities rely on energy for transportation, and electricity for everyday activities at home and at work. A reliable and secure supply of energy, including electricity, is fundamental for economic and social wellbeing. Furthermore, the demand for electricity is increasing.

Government has developed energy strategies and made changes to the RMA to encourage energy efficiency and greater uptake of renewable energy over use of non-renewable resources. Renewable energy means energy produced from solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, biomass, tidal, wave and ocean current sources.

The Government has made a commitment to reduce New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions and to achieve increasingly sustainable energy use. This commitment is expressed by the inclusion of sections 7(ba), 7(i) and 7(j) in the RMA in 2004 and in national strategy and policy documents dealing with energy, renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation, and electricity transmission.

The electricity transmission network is recognised by a national policy statement as a matter of national significance.

As at 2009, the Government's target is for 90% of New Zealand's electricity generation to be from renewable energy resources by 2025. Collectively these Government policy instruments seek to achieve economy-wide improvements in the efficiency of energy use and an increase in the supply of energy from renewable energy resources.

Given these national policy instruments and the presence of significant renewable energy resources with potential for development in the Region, the Regional Council recognises that it needs to provide for the development of renewable energy resources and the use of renewable energy.

The Region has potential for the development of renewable energy facilities, given the areas with high wind speeds, the potential to develop hydroelectricity resources, and some potential for the use of wave energy around the coastline.

The development and use of renewable electricity generation facilities face a number of barriers that include the difficulty in securing access to natural resources as well as functional, operational and technical factors that constrain the location, layout, design and generation potential of renewable energy facilities. The adverse environmental effects of renewable electricity generation facilities can also be a barrier, if they are not appropriately avoided, remedied or mitigated.

Urban growth and rural residential subdivision on versatile soils

Allowing urban expansion, and the development of rural residential “lifestyle blocks”, onto the more versatile soils may result in a reduction of options for their future productive use. This may adversely affect the ability of future generations to meet their reasonably foreseeable needs.

Waste*, hazardous substances* and contaminated land

The Regional Council recognises the need to focus on the full life cycle of waste* from generation to disposal, and that waste* is a wasted resource.

The Regional Council and the Region's Territorial Authorities have similar responsibilities for the control of adverse effects from the storage, transport, use and disposal of hazardous substances*. These responsibilities need to be clarified to prevent overlaps, gaps and inconsistencies.

The Regional Council also has responsibilities for identifying and monitoring contaminated land and Territorial Authorities are responsible for the “prevention or mitigation of any adverse effects of the development, subdivision, or use of contaminated land” (ss30(1)(ca) and 31(1)(b)(iia) RMA).

The New Zealand Waste Strategy (Ministry for the Environment, 2002) sets voluntary national targets for waste* minimisation, organic wastes*, special wastes*, construction and demolition wastes*, hazardous wastes*, contaminated land, organochlorines, trade wastes* and wastes* disposal.