Natural Hazards

Whakahaere mōrearea taiao
Council is looking at taking a risk based approach in adapting to our natural hazards.

Whakahaere mōrearea taiao

Council is looking at taking a risk based approach in adapting to our natural hazards.

Natural hazards in the Nelson region are a feature of the City’s location within the flood plain of several river catchments, being traversed by several active faults, its geological setting, and its proximity to the coast. The region has in historic times felt the impact of the forces of nature from earthquakes, landslides, large floods and coastal inundation. While natural hazard events have created significant costs to our city, we cannot fully protect areas from hazards but we can adapt.

When Council spoke to the community in November 2015 about the Nelson Plan review, most of the feedback related to climate change issues, particularly sea level rise. Some respondents requested more identification and communication of areas which will be affected by sea level rise.  Options of a managed retreat policy or investment in coastal protection works were identified. 

Respondents noted the location of important infrastructure in low lying areas and the need for strategic planning to manage these impacts on infrastructure. Some people requested Council to prohibit development in areas where hazard risk made this activity unsuitable.

The draft Regional Policy Statement takes a risk based management approach to adapting to our natural hazards.  Such an approach will ensure that land use is managed so that the level of control corresponds to the level of risk identified. 

This means residential and commercial development could still occur in hazard prone areas and the community would need to accept some risk from natural hazards such as earthquakes and flooding.  For example, an adaptive approach would encourage floodable basements instead of stopping all development in flood-prone areas.

Over recent years, Council has commissioned a number of studies so we can better understand Nelson’s natural hazard risks and to help inform the proposed risk based management approach in the Nelson Plan.

Does this draft RPS section on Managing Natural Hazards miss any significant resource management issues? Is Council responding appropriately to the issues related to this topic?


Download the Natural Hazards chapter of the Draft RPS (1.5MB PDF)

Download the full Draft RPS (1.5MB PDF)

Research and technical documents