A decision-making committee, appointed by the New Zealand Government’s Environmental Protection Authority, has granted dredging and disposal company Coastal Resources Limited, a 35-year marine consent to dispose of dredged sediment off Great Barrier Island (GBI).
Coastal Resources Limited already holds consent to dispose of 50,000 cubic meters of dredged sediment annually at the approved site, known as the Northern Disposal Area which sits 25 kilometers east of the Island in Exclusive Economic Zone waters.
In June 2018, it applied to the EPA to expand its operation to 250,000 cubic meters annually.
In granting the consent, the committee set conditions which will see Coastal Resources Limited carry out regular environmental monitoring of the site for the duration of the consent, and a requirement that the EPA, Biosecurity New Zealand, Auckland Council, Waikato Regional Council and Northland Regional Council be notified within 48 hours of any biosecurity risk.
In its final decision, Committee members Mark Farnsworth, (Chair), Basil Morrison and Gillian Wratt found that:
- The potential adverse effects on the environment, including cumulative effects, of any disposal activity will be restricted to the Northern Disposal Area and negligible beyond the boundary;
- Any potential adverse effects on ‘Existing Interests’, including those on commercial fishing activities, will be negligible beyond the boundary;
- The proposed operational procedures, mitigation measures and conditions will ensure that the biological diversity of marine species, ecosystems and processes in the Hauraki Gulf, and wider coastal and offshore environment, will be protected;
- Coastal Resources Limited is required to comply with a number of other legislative regimes that relate to health and safety and environmental protection. These will further protect the environment and minimize any potential for adverse effects from the disposal activity.