Saddle Hill quarry likely to stay under new district plan

Natural landscapes will receive better protection, but the Saddle Hill quarry seems set to stay, under Dunedin's second generation district plan.

The 2GP, released today, included new coastal character zones to protect areas of ''outstanding'' and ''high'' natural character, such as Tunnel Beach and the Aramoana salt marsh.

Outstanding natural features would also be better protected.

Dunedin City Council planner Michael Bathgate said the new rules would prohibit mining or quarrying on the upper level of Saddle Hill.

But the existing Saddle Hill Quarry - the source of public controversy over damage to the ridge line - could continue operating under existing use rights, he believed.

''But any time they want to increase the scale or intensity of how they operate, they can't apply for resource consent to do that. They would have to try to get the plan changed.''

The amount of native vegetation about to be cleared without first seeking a resource consent was also dramatically reduced under the 2GP, he said.

The old plan allowed consent-free clearances of up to 0.5ha in coastal areas and on Taieri, 5ha in the city and part of the south coast, and 9ha further west.

Under the 2GP, that was reduced ''significantly'' to between 100sqm over five years on the Taieri Plain, and 1ha for tussock and 1000sqm for non-tussock over three years on the Strath Taieri high country.

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