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New coastal hazard maps due for release mid-April

26 Mar 2021, 8:07 AM

The pending release of new coastal hazard maps for Te Taitokerau is part of a growing, shared momentum from Northland’s councils to help their communities prepare for – and adapt to – climate change.

Chair of the council’s Climate Change Working Party Amy Macdonald says the latest suite of maps showing areas at risk of coastal erosion and coastal flooding are due to be released mid-April.

Based on new aerial survey data and updated 50 and 100-year projections, the maps will be used to inform decision-making to minimise the risks of coastal hazards.

“As an example, Northland’s three district councils are required to use them to manage where and how development occurs.”

Councillor Amy Macdonald.Amy Macdonald, Chair of the council’s Climate Change Working Party.Councillor Macdonald says coastal hazard mapping is not a new thing and the regional council has been providing information on coastal hazards for more than 30 years.

However, in more recent years, all four Northland councils have been working closely on climate change and in 2018 had established a shared staff working group to work on a collaborative approach to climate change adaptation across the region.

Councillors and hapū/iwi representatives from the four councils are also meeting as part of a new joint committee formed this year to work together on climate adaptation.

“It’s no understatement to say that climate change is the single largest environmental challenge of our time,” Cr Macdonald says

“How we prepare for it now will greatly influence the future shape of Northland in many ways; these maps help us all understand the coming changes and will provide a catalyst for important conversations about Northland’s future.”

Councillor Macdonald says working with district councils, tangata whenua and affected communities is crucial to ensuring we’re collectively better prepared for climate change

To that end, all four of Northland’s councils are consulting on climate change related proposals as part of their 10-year Long Term Plans (LTP).

“These LTP proposals are largely centred around supporting community and iwi/hapū adaptation planning, plus reducing emissions from the councils and the services they provide.” 

Councillor Macdonald says Northland is not alone in facing up to the climate-related challenge our shared future will involve.

“Councils all over the nation are grappling with how best to support and prepare their communities as climate change effects increase over time; this includes coastal hazards, flood, drought, and permanent inundation from sea level rise.”

She says the NRC will be releasing draft maps in mid-April and contacting those in mapped areas, to make sure people know what the mapping is about and what it might mean for them, prior to finalising the maps in a couple of months’ time.

More information on coastal hazards in Te Taitokerau can be found on the regional council’s website, and the updated mapping is expected to be available from mid-April: www.nrc.govt.nz/coastalhazards