Auckland Council says it is making strides with a programme of work to reduce the region’s vulnerability to flooding and other climate impacts.
Following an investigation commissioned by the council’s Parks, Environment and Planning committee in March, Auckland Council staff have been evaluating the impacts and implications of severe weather events on Tāmaki Makaurau.
In an initial report delivered to the committee on June 29, staff recommended three focus areas to build a more resilient Auckland: strengthening the unitary plan, making space for water and accelerating community adaptation action. These include a range of recommended actions, from regulating land use and investing in infrastructure to increasing environmental and hazard research.
“This is a significant piece of work which reflects the magnitude and urgency of the challenge we’re facing,” says Chair of the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee, Councillor Richard Hills.
“Aucklanders are already feeling the effects of climate change, with many people severely impacted by extreme weather events this year. If we want to protect our communities from that kind of devastation in future, we have a short window of time now to make change.”
A key part of this work will be to strengthen Auckland’s planning rulebook, the Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP), which sets the rules for what can be built and where across Auckland, Council said in a statement.
As a first step, councillors have endorsed a proposal by council staff to prepare a plan change to the AUP, which will look at a range of potential options to strengthen the management of natural hazard risks.
“Much of this work was already underway as part of the council’s climate, adaptation and water strategies, however we know from recent events that change needs to happen faster,” says Council’s Chief of Strategy, Megan Tyler.
“We are working across the council to identify a range of regulatory and non-regulatory actions that will not only help us to address current climate impacts but strengthen our resilience against future risks.”
Further investigations by staff, detailed committee workshopping and community and stakeholder engagement will take place before any specific regulatory or planning actions are confirmed, Council said.