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Plan Change 30 – Earthworks

Plan Change 30 – Earthworks proposes to clarify wording of existing provisions to ensure that earthworks are undertaken in a safe manner, avoiding negative effects on the environment. 

We had a great response and received 29 submissions between 16 November 2020 and 1 February 2021.

Further submissions are now open and must be received by 5pm, Friday, 25 June 2021.

You can only make a further submission in support of or opposition to the original submission if you are an affected party, a person with certain interests, or a local authority. A further submission must oppose or support an original submission and cannot raise new points and topics. 

Plan change 30 - key documents and submissions

More information on further submissions

Earthworks rules within the City Plan are to manage the effects of earthworks within the city, particularly those that are not controlled by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

As part of controlling earthworks, there is the need to manage effects of earthworks on building sites, such as sediment leaving the site. In addition, there is also the need to manage earthworks that are undertaken as part of subdivision and land use activities.

Why clarify the rules for earthworks?

Over time, there have been some implementation issues identified. The earthworks rules in the City Plan require changes to address these issues, to ensure the effective and efficient management of earthworks across the city.

Conversations with the development community and tangata whenua have helped to identify key issues that can occur during development and potentially result in negative effects.

The development community indicated that the existing rules are, in the most part, working. Therefore, we are proposing a small number of technical amendments with this plan change. A full review of the earthworks rules will be undertaken as part of the City Plan review, commencing in late 2020 and to be notified in April 2024.

Control of earthworks at all stages of development

Earthworks post-subdivision

When land is subdivided, development plans will generally show the earthworks required for a house to be built. However, there are instances where earthworks are carried out after the subdivision is complete. These are not able to be controlled as part of the subdivision and therefore can cause site stability issues.

The City Plan currently provides for earthworks consented as part of an approved subdivision to be exempt from permitted activity controls on earthworks. This is on the basis that an application for subdivision should have already detailed what earthworks are to occur and any necessary mitigation measures required. That means appropriate conditions can be applied to the subdivision consent approval.

In practice, the exemption has been applied to all earthworks on site, even when a subdivision consent application has not provided information on what earthworks are to occur.

We are proposing to clarify that a subdivision application must provide full details of earthworks, including the effect of earthworks on site stability and inundation, and on adjacent sites. Only those earthworks forming part of the application are then able to utilise the exemption.

Earthworks associated with other activities

When earthworks are connected to another activity which is provided for in a zone, it can be expected that these earthworks are able to be undertaken without the need for a separate consent.

This is on the basis that where earthworks are connected to an activity which is permitted (e.g. building a house in a residential zone), or where they have already been considered through a resource consent process, the earthworks should be able to be undertaken without the need for a separate consent process.

In practice, this rule has been misapplied with earthworks being undertaken in advance of a permitted activity, or have not been considered as part of a resource consent.

We are proposing to clarify that the earthworks need to be carried out at the same time as the establishment of the principal activity. It is also considered appropriate for earthworks controls to apply where connected to activities that are not, in themselves, permitted activities in the zone.

Managing sediment on site

It is critical to control sediment and keep it on building sites. The City Plan contains guidance for management of sediment which is intended to provide flexibility to those undertaking erosion and sediment control, allowing them to use measures that meet the individual circumstances of a site.

This has resulted in confusion for those seeking to comply with sediment and erosion controls, and difficulties in enforcing those measures in order to contain sediment on site, particularly where controls have been installed but are failing.

A set of standards is proposed for the City Plan to provide certainty around the rules. In addition, a guideline will provide developers with examples of best practice for erosion and sediment control.

Proposed Plan Change 30

The proposed technical amendments are intended to address the identified key issues.

Chapter 3 - Definitions
  • Remove definition of 'approved earthworks'.
Chapter 4 - General Provisions, Section 4C and Appendix 4N
  • Changes principally relate to Permitted Activity rules, including rules relating to subdivision, earthworks where ancillary to other activities, and sediment and erosion control.
  • A new guideline will be introduced to help keep sediment on sites.
Chapter 12 - Subdivision
  • Changes to Controlled Activity Subdivision Standards and Terms, and Matters of Control and Conditions in Residential Zones, Rural Residential Zones, Rural Zones, and Commercial and Industrial Zones.

These changes clarify that:

  • subdivision consent does not provide a blanket approval for all earthworks (including post-subdivision activities requiring earthworks)
  • earthworks connected to other activities need to be carried out at the same time as the establishment of the principal activity
  • sediment needs to be controlled and kept on sites.

Learn more about the City Plan and plan changes

Have your say

Online further submission

You must send a copy of your further submission to the original submitter within five working days of it being lodged with council.


  • Early 2019 - October 2020
    Identification of issues and pre-consultation

    Preparation of proposed plan change
  • 16 November 2020 - 1 February 2021
    Public notification and submissions
  • 31 May - 25 June 2021
    A summary of submissions is published and submitters are invited to make further submissions
  • Late 2021
    Hearings - A hearing committee considers submissions received and will provide recommendations to Council
  • Late 2021/early 2021
    Decisions - Recommendations are considered at a formal Council meeting and decisions are publicly notified

    Appeals (30 days to lodge)

    Plan change is operative in part of in full depending on appeals

What is the City Plan and a plan change?

City Plan and plan change information

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