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Published: 2007-03-30 00:00:00

A council strategy that plans for the future transport needs of the Waikato region has won a high honour from the New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI).

The institute presented an Award of Merit to Environment Waikato for its Land Transport Strategy 2006-2016 (RLTS) at its annual conference in Palmerston North today.

Environment Waikato transport committee chairman, councillor Angus Macdonald, said a huge amount of consultation and work had gone into developing the strategy and it was great to have external recognition of what had been achieved.

“The RLTS is about providing a safe, sustainable and integrated transport system that really works and enhances the environmental, economic, social and cultural well-being of the region,” he said.

The NZPI awards committee said it was “impressed by the comprehensive policy framework” of the RLTS.

“The best practice planning and consultation processes underpinning it yielded a document that is legally robust, thoroughly investigated and reflective of quality urban design and integrated land use planning,” it said.

“It is a tightly integrated document that goes well beyond identifying priorities for the next decade.”

Environment Waikato’s Regional Land Transport Strategy (RLTS) identifies the future land transport needs of the Waikato region and guides how $4 billion of public money for road, rail and passenger transport services will be spent over the next 10 years.

It was developed by the Waikato Regional Land Transport Committee, made up of representatives from Environment Waikato, the region’s territorial authorities, Transit New Zealand, Land Transport New Zealand, the New Zealand Police, Ontrack, and special interest groups.

The NZPI awards committee said it was particularly impressed by the way in which the RLTS utilised robust, best-practice planning processes that would ensure sustainable high quality urban design and integrated land use planning.

The NZPI is New Zealand’s only professional body representing this country’s professional planners. Its mission is to assist planners and the wider planning community in advocating effectively for the creation of rewarding and sustainable New Zealand communities.

The institute represents more than 1500 practitioners involved in developing and protecting New Zealand’s natural and built environment.