Greater Wellington proposes a bold new regional policy statement for the Wellington region

Impact of Proposed Amendment to RPS 1 – Regional Net Emissions Trajectories

The Greater Wellington Regional Council has approved key proposals for changes to its regional policy statement that would implement the directions required by the government’s national policy statements on urban development and freshwater management. The proposed Regional Policy Statement (RPS Change 1) will now go out for public consultation.

The board also aligned RPS Amendment 1 with the exposure draft of the National Indigenous Biodiversity Policy Statement and incorporated aspects of the Wellington Regional Growth Framework and Regional Climate Emergency Response Program .

RPS Change 1 sets the stage for achieving net zero carbon by 2050 and begins to address freshwater degradation in the region.

Submissions on the proposed changes open August 19, 2022 and close October 14, 2022 at 5 p.m.

Change 1 would amend the Greater Wellington PSR, introducing a new climate change chapter which sets out a wide range of objectives and policies designed to help achieve binding climate change targets.

The key climate change outcomes of the proposed change would include a commitment by Greater Wellington to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, bringing the region to net zero carbon by 2050.

Other targets would result in a 35% reduction in emissions from land transport as well as a 60% reduction in public transport and a 40% increase in the use of cycling, walking and public transport by here 2030.

“These are ambitious goals backed by a series of equally ambitious policies. We are proposing strong but necessary change in the face of rapidly changing climate change,” said Greater Wellington Chairman Daran Ponter.

“There will be a clear and continued focus on policies designed to reduce the rising rate of transport emissions. This will include encouraging mode change by providing excellent public transport by bus and train and increasing the appeal of active travel by encouraging safe and connected walking and cycling options. We will also accelerate the transition to electric vehicles for private and commercial use.

“Some of these initiatives are already underway. We encourage government investment in the regional rail plan and planning for new electric trains and the full electrification of the bus fleet by 2030. But bringing it all together in our RPS will strengthen our intent.

RPS Change 1 mode change requirements would also be passed down to district and regional plans through consensus requirements that would require travel demand management plans that minimize the use of private vehicles in favor of public transportation.

Cr Ponter also noted that Change 1 will significantly influence the shape of cities and towns in the region by encouraging urban intensification that will lead to low-emission infrastructure and the construction of new housing around travel corridors.

“The key to change will be thriving centers where everything you need is 15 minutes’ walk away, linked across the region by efficient public transport and active transportation networks that make private car use frankly useless most of the time.”

An equally important goal of PRS Change 1 is the measures it prescribes to address freshwater degradation and the partial implementation of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS -FM).

“Also at the heart of the change is the focus on halting freshwater degradation. It will strengthen existing provisions for the protection of biodiversity and the restoration of native ecosystems.

“It will also incorporate Te Mana o te Wai, which encompasses principles relating to the roles of mana whenua / tangata whenua and other New Zealanders in freshwater management. These principles inform this PRS and its implementation, and the wide range of initiatives we are planning under it will improve freshwater quality in the region.

“The alignment of national and regional policies is vital to protect our climate and our fresh water. We welcome public comment on this important change.

Members of the public can make submissions from tomorrow online using the submission form, by emailing [email protected] or by post to Environmental Policy, PO Box 11646, Manners St, Wellington 6142. Go to www.gw.govt.nz/rpschange1 for more information.

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