Forest & Bird is considering legal action in response to Hutt City Council’s decision to abandon plans to protect significant native habitat on private land.
The council has abandoned its plan to identify and map Significant Natural Areas (SNAs) on private land, something it is legally required to do by the Wellington Regional Policy Statement.
“The council is legally obliged to map SNAs, and this action is clearly contrary to that. We’re considering seeking a declaration in the Environment Court to that effect," says Forest & Bird general counsel Peter Anderson.
Mr Anderson says SNAs are needed to identify and protect the remnants of the Hutt Valley’s once rich and thriving natural places.
“Wellingtonians love seeing native bush on their hillsides, and native birds and other species returning in abundance. We need to provide some protection of those significant areas."
Under the Regional Policy Statement, all councils in the Wellington region are required to identify and map areas of significant native biodiversity, such as important areas of native bush and native species habitat. Hutt City Council is one of the first councils in the region to begin the process.
“Councils around the region need to continue with this work to build on the restoration already taking place. Protecting wildlife and their habitat on private land is an important part of turning around the crisis facing our native plants and animals.”
The council will proceed with mapping SNAs on council land.