A. The continuity of the mountains to sea landscape in Westland particularly in the south of the District and significant landscape elements shall be protected by ensuring development takes into account the landscape setting.
B. The contribution of indigenous vegetation to the landscape character of the district shall be recognised and its clearance controlled.
C. Council will protect significant landscape areas, including natural features, in the District. All
significant landscape areas shall meet the following criteria:
The landscape is natural, open and spacious and is largely unmodified by human activity or development (relative to other landscapes).
2. Scientific or other Cultural value
The area is a type, locality or other scientific reference area, is listed as a geopreservation site or has distinctive amenity value (e.g. it contributes to a distinctive and outstanding landscape of the district or has other significant historic or cultural value or is of an international importance).
The area has one or more of the following:
- outstanding size, shape, diversity or pattern of natural features or landforms.
- outstanding area of predominantly indigenous vegetation.
- outstanding or popular accessible viewpoints/key views.
Area has one of the best examples of distinctiveness outlined above.
In addition, the following criteria will also be used to
assess the overall significance of all areas:-
The area has been set aside by NZ statute or covenant for protection and preservation or is a recognised wilderness area.
The area is well protected from other human based modifying influences.
The area is high in visual sensitivity to change.
The area is high in visual coherence (pleasantness).
D. To maintain and enhance significant indigenous vegetation on water margins.
E. To control the destruction and removal of significant indigenous vegetation on water margins.
a. Subdivision design in the rural areas shall be in sympathy with significant natural landscape features. Building platforms may be delineated to ensure such features are not obscured or compromised.
b. Decisions on Resource Consent applications will recognise and provide protection of:
- outstanding natural features or land forms.
- significant indigenous vegetation.
- outstanding or popular view points/key views.
c. Minimum site areas for subdivision in the rural area have been set in order to retain the predominantly open rural character of the District.
d. Part III of the Forests Act 1949, promotes sustainable forest management and provides some controls on vegetation clearance. However, large areas are exempt from the Act's provisions because these are managed under other legislation. Rules in the Plan managing indigenous vegetation clearance will reduce adverse effects on indigenous fauna and habitat, landscape character, amenity and intrinsic value and soil and water quality. Landowners are encouraged to manage indigenous vegetation in accordance with registered Sustainable Forest Management Plans or Permits.
e. Some 85% of the District's land area is managed under a conservation mandate, with tight controls over development with potential to impact on visual and landscape values and/or natural features. This provides an added level of environmental protection of this land.
Explanation / Reasons
The Act states that the protection of outstanding natural features and landscapes from the effects of inappropriate subdivision, use and development is a matter of national importance.
The continuity of the mountains to sea landscape and individual elements of it, for example the glaciers and lakes has particular value in Westland to residents and as a tourist asset. However the policies recognise that not only individual elements of the landscape require specific attention but that the landscape as a whole has considerable worth.
Different parts of the landscape exhibit differing degrees of vulnerability to change and to the effects of activities. The policies recognise that in general the north of the District is more developed compared to the south in terms of settlements, density of development, farming activity and modification of natural areas. This pattern of land use is a direct result of the higher level of private ownership of land in the north of Westland. Although South Westland has a greater vulnerability to even small scale change, it is more likely that change will occur in North Westland which could have significant cumulative effects. Protection of important landscape and natural features over the vast majority of the District is essentially assured by virtue of the fact that some 85% of the land area is managed under a conservation mandate by the Department of Conservation.
Anticipated Environmental Outcomes
Implementation of the above policies and parent objectives are expected to achieve the following outcomes.
I Protection of significant landscape features in Westland.
II Increased sensitivity of development to impacts on landscape values.
III Maintenance of the natural character of the mountains to sea landscape in the south of the district, from Mikonui South.