State of the Environment Report 2018

08/04/2019 4:10am

At its meeting on 4 April, the Planning and Regulatory Committee approved the Nelson City Council State of the Environment Report 2018 for release.

The State of the Environment report 2018 (SOE) summarises the Council’s current knowledge about Nelson’s environment across six domains; natural heritage, sustainable land, sustainable water, coastal and marine, and healthy communities. The report identifies the environmental issues Nelson is facing, describes the current state of our environmental assets and highlights Council activities in this area.

The wide range of topics covered in the report reflects the growth in Council’s environmental monitoring and actions since the previous report in 2010. This expansion of Council’s environmental monitoring programmes responds to the recent legislative changes for regional and national environmental reporting, and the requirement at Central Government level to increase public access to State of the Environment information. The data presented is key to Council’s science-based decision making across its environmental programmes and policies.

The report incorporates long term trend data for air and water quality. Council’s biodiversity, waste minimisation, water quantity, environmental education and biosecurity programmes have been recently refreshed, so data in these areas is not sufficient to give long term trends and the report is focused instead on reflecting the current status.New programmes of work in the areas of land management, coastal and marine science, climate change and housing will also generate their own data going forward. We’ve presented current information, talked about the key issues and how they affect us and looked at what Council is doing in these areas.

Councillor Brian McGurk - the co-Chair of the Planning and Regulatory Committee, says the report reflects Council’s open and engaging approach to its environmental responsibilities, both in the regulatory and non-regulatory areas.

“Publishing this report shows the Council's strengthening commitment to its environmental responsibilities.  Sharing this information will help us meet community expectations as we work towards a rich, diverse and resilient environment. The increase in environmental monitoring and reporting is a valuable tool in our work towards better environmental outcomes.”

Key trends:

Air quality results show an improving trend towards the Air Quality NES, with only two exceedances in 2018 compared to 8 in 2010.

Water quality results show that of the 25 sites monitored, 14 have retained the same grading as in 2010, and four sites (n the Maitai and Wakapuaka catchments) have improved.   The improvements reflect water quality and restoration projects under Council’s Project Maitai/Mahitahi, Nelson Nature and Healthy Stream programmes. Seven sites have degraded and these changes are likely to be influenced by increasing pressure from surrounding land use.

Solid waste reduction, in particular rates of home composting, saw some backward steps during 2017 and 2018 when our environmental waste/education role was vacant, but this position is now filled and we expect to see the results of that in future reports.

The next SOE report will be published in five years, but in the interim, we’ll be publishing infographic scorecards on an annual basis to help make this information publicly available.

You can download the report at