Significant Ecological Area (SEA)
What does it mean?
Many of us live adjacent to, or within an SEA, and we are aware that this restricts what we can do. But just what are those restrictions, and why are they in place?
What is an SEA?
Under the Auckland Unitary Plan some areas have been designated as “Significant Ecological Areas” or SEA’s. These areas have been identified as meeting one or more of the 5 key ecologically important criteria, which are:
- Threat status and/or rarity
- Stepping stones, migration pathways and buffers.
- Uniqueness or distinctiveness.
By identifying these areas as SEA's the Auckland Council aims to protect and maintain indigenous biodiversity within the Auckland region.
That sounds great… but how does having an SEA on my property affect me?
The rules in the Auckland Unitary Plan that relate to SEA’s are now operative. This means that within an SEA most (but not all) vegetation alteration or removal work will require resource consent. There are certain activities that you are allowed to do within an SEA without resource consent however these must be confirmed with the Auckland Council prior to any works going ahead:
- Biosecurity tree work.
- Deadwood removal.
- Vegetation alteration or removal for routine maintenance and repair of existing tracks, lawns, gardens, fences and other lawfully established activities.
- Vegetation alteration or removal for customary use.
- Emergency tree works where property/people are at immediate risk.
- Pest plant removal.
- Conservation planting.
- Forestry and Farming activities as existing at 30 September 2013.
- Vegetation alteration or removal for routine maintenance within 3m of the existing dwelling.
- Vegetation alteration or removal for routine maintenance within 3m of existing buildings greater than 100m2 gross floor area.
Conditions do still apply to the above activities - for more detail you can see E15 Vegetation management and biodiversity section of the Unitary Plan, or just give us a call!
If you need to carry out vegetation alterations or removals within an SEA that do not fit any of the criteria above, you will need to apply for resource consent.
As part of the application you will need to provide an Arborist Report to identify trees that will be affected, their general health and any mitigation methods to be implemented. An EIA (Ecological Impact Assessment) that outlines which trees are to be removed/pruned and how this will impact the ecology of the site will also be required in most cases.
How can TreeZone help?
TreeZone Ltd can manage the application process and provide you with an Arborist Report and EIA to submit to council as part of your application. If you are not sure if your concern fits within the criteria above, drop us a line and we will advise you the best way to proceed, and provide you with a quote for the reports and any tree works required.
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