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Environment Court backs Whangapoua Forest decision

The Environment Court has backed Environment Waikato’s decision to issue resource consents to a forestry company for the continued harvesting of Whangapoua Forest.

In 2004 the company, Ernslaw One Ltd, applied for a number of resource consents so it could continue harvesting pine trees in the 10,500 ha forest.

There were 31 submissions against the proposal from a range or parties including environmental groups, iwi and individuals.

“The opposing parties were concerned about a range of issues such as biodiversity threats, effects on streams, wetlands and harbours and inconsistency with relevant laws,” said Environment Waikato forestry and minerals manager Grant Blackie.

After considering all the issues at a four-day hearing in February 2005, an Environment Waikato hearing committee decided to grant Ernslaw One’s resource consent applications.

Appeals against some of the conditions of the consents were then lodged with the Environment Court by:

  • Ernslaw One Ltd and Whangapoua Environmental Protection Society – regarding the planting of waterways and related issues
  • The Department of Conservation (DOC) – regarding the protection of rare and threatened species.

However, DOC withdrew from the proceedings after negotiating an agreement with Ernslaw One Ltd.

An Environment Court hearing was held over five days last December to consider the appeals.

On February 20 the court released its decision, upholding Environment Waikato’s decision to issue the resource consents.

Environment Waikato’s Regulatory Committee was informed of the court’s decision at its monthly meeting in Hamilton last week.

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