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  Council » Policies and Plans » Rules and regulation » Regional Coastal Plan » Regional Coastal Plan (online version) » 3 Natural Character, Habitat and Coastal Processes

3 Natural Character, Habitat and Coastal Processes

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Section 6(a), (b) and (c) of the RMA set out matters of national importance which require this Plan to:

recognise and provide for...
  1. The preservation of the natural character of the coastal environment (including the CMA),... and the protection of (it) from inappropriate subdivision, use, and development:
  2. The protection of outstanding natural features and landscapes from inappropriate subdivision, use, and development:
  3. The protection of areas of significant indigenous vegetation and significant habitats of indigenous fauna.

Chapter 1 of the NZCPS also states national priorities in relation to these matters.

The NZCPS has described natural character as being ‘those qualities and features in coastal environments which have been brought into being by nature i.e. the preservation of the coastal environments in their natural state’1. The coast of the Region has different qualities and features in different areas and ‘inappropriate subdivision, use and development’ is, in part, dependent on the existing natural character of the location and the extent to which the natural character would be affected. In some instances, land titles are located in the CMA and although unlikely, may be subject to a subdivision consent.

The coastal environment is a dynamic zone which is continually undergoing change from natural processes. The physical characteristics of the coastal environment result from the underlying rock type and land forms as well as from waves and currents. There is a high level of biological diversity in the coastal environment, and the range of species found is related to and determined by the physical characteristics. Because of the mobility of marine life, loss of habitat can have widespread consequences in terms of species abundance and diversity. The complexity and inter-relatedness of coastal ecology therefore needs to be recognised.

While natural character is closely linked to the environment in its natural state2, the amenity, historical and cultural values people associate with the coast are also important considerations. These values are given importance through Part II of the RMA as well as Policy 1.1.3 of the NZCPS.

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