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Protecting our most important environmental sites

Protecting our most important environmental sites

Updated 5 March 2019 11:23am

Significant Natural Areas (SNAs)

Important ecological sites are being identified and protected in our region. Find out more and about the support available.

Central Government has directed councils to identify and protect areas that contain important native ecosystems. These are generally known as Significant Natural Areas, or SNAs.

In the Wellington Region, Policies 23 and 24 of the Regional Policy Statement (RPS) say how this process must be carried out. This Statement was developed by Greater Wellington in consultation and in agreement with all city and district councils in the region.

“We all want to continue to enjoy clean rivers, land, and air in our region. But we must acknowledge that our own activities have an impact on the state of our environment.

[The RPS] is a guide to how we might best protect our environment for future generations… an opportunity to create a legacy”

– From the forward of the RPS, by Fran Wilde, Greater Wellington Regional Council Chair 2007-2015

The role of city and district councils

The different responsibilities of city, district and regional councils to protect biodiversity through their district and regional plans are shown below.

City and district councils are at varying stages of identifying SNAs in their jurisdictions and contacting affected landowners to work together to protect them. This process must be completed by 2023.

If you are a landowner, you may have been contacted already, or could be in future.

The role of Greater Wellington

We don’t have a direct role to play in city and district councils’ SNA work, but we do support their efforts.

We have been going through our own process of identifying SNAs through our proposed Natural Resources Plan. This has been years in the making and addresses the parts of our region that fall under Greater Wellington’s jurisdiction, including important freshwater and coastal sites.

We have already contacted any landowners affected by this.

How this could affect you / Where to go with a question

If you want to know more about SNAs and how they might affect you, please contact your local city or district council.

Support available

If you are contacted about a SNA on your land speak to your local council about the support they can offer you.

Greater Wellington provides funding for restoring and protecting important sites, including wetlands and waterways.

You can apply for:

  • Funding that could cover 50% of the costs of planting and fencing in and around waterways (see Healthy Waterways).
  • Subsidised protection for your land through the QEII National Trust. Greater Wellington provides funding to QEII that subsidises their support for landowners who wish to establish a covenant to protect areas of high ecological value on their land.