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Forest & Bird is concerned that the process being run by the Far North District Council to review its Vehicles on Beaches Bylaw will result in the bylaw providing for vehicle use on beaches in a manner that is inconsistent with the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement and fails to protect indigenous biodiversity.

Driving on beaches risks damage and destruction of shore bird nests and shellfish beds, disturbs roots, compresses soil, and can kill nesting birds.

Vehicles on beaches allow people and their dogs to access remote areas that would otherwise be rarely visited. The increased human and dog presence disturbs shore birds and prevents them nesting, feeding and resting. Increased human activity on beaches also increases pollution and littering.

Restricting access for recreational use of public vehicles on beaches is necessary to protect and enhance the significant ecosystem and biodiversity values recognised on Far North beaches. The vast majority of which have been identified as outstanding or high natural character in the Northland Regional Policy Statement, or as significant ecological areas and significant bird areas (at least up to mean high-water springs) in the proposed Northland Regional Plan.

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