By Thomas Holmes, Planner, Baseline Group | Dec 15, 2021
There are five species of lizard consisting of either skinks and geckos present on Banks Peninsula and in the Canterbury High Country; four species in particular are either declining or nationally vulnerable, namely the Spotted Skink, Jewelled Gecko, Canterbury Gecko and Common Skink.
New Zealand’s native lizards are a protected species, so before any development can begin on land where they are found, approval from DOC and Council may be required. Development projects that may require these include work to clear vegetation, landscaping, any construction, or road building.
How could this affect you?
If lizard populations are discovered during development stages, this can result in costly delays to any project. It is important your site is thoroughly investigated prior to any development taking place if it falls within any of the known habitat locations around Canterbury.
If lizards are found within your site, Council may require you to undertake an ecological site survey to determine the extent of lizard populations within your site, development exclusion zones may need to be set up if the lizards cannot be relocated.
Relocation of lizard populations can be a time consuming and costly process usually involving obtaining DOC approvals, herpetologist fees and additional construction and staffing costs which can quickly eat into your budget.
Often a Lizard Management Plan will be required to support any DOC application. Lizard management plans are site-specific plans written to identify and implement the actions required to ensure that lizards and their habitats are protected when disturbance to land is proposed. These management plans also aim to ensure that any modification potentially affecting lizards complies with environmental legislation.
How do I know if my site could host lizards?
Lizards are typically found in dry river cobbles, scree, amongst rock outcrops, in coastal scrubland and forestry blocks. All of these lizards can be found at sites scattered right across Banks Peninsula.
The Canterbury Gecko is nocturnal mostly ground dwelling and most often found in rocky outcrops on the peninsula. The threatened jewelled gecko is active during the day and lives in trees. Skink species are also common on land in the Canterbury headwaters and river valleys and around sea bird populations.
If you do find that your property supports endangered lizards, there are a few management techniques you can use to protect them during your land development projects. Having a specialist confirm the extent of any habitat will help, and these areas can be buffered from earthworks, forestry harvesting and construction activities. Excluding livestock and maintaining pest control of possum’s deer and goats will also assist in managing these areas. Finally ensuring any staff or contractors to your site are aware of the habitat areas and are generally avoided.
Articles you might be interested in
- Planning Rules can Affect Property Value
- How might Development Contributions affect you?
- Housing Growth continues in Selwyn with Legislative Support
- Highly Productive Soils – Big Picture Thinking vs Private Landowners Needs
- Risks to farmland in the planning framework
- Is the RMA really the problem?
- A Practical Guide for District Plan Reviews
- Proposed Selwyn District Plan - What next?
- Game changers for housing under the RMA
- Spotlight on District Plan Provisions
- Good District Plan provisions save time and money
- Have your say on Development Projects
- Boundary disputes – What are they and how can you resolve them?
- District Plan in Selwyn – How will it Affect You?
- Minimum Car Parking Requirements to be Chopped
- Selwyn District Council Changes Urban Allotment Sizes
- The Role of Planning in the Climate Change - Discussion for Agriculture
- What does a professional planner do?
- Commercial Activity in a Rural Zone – What’s the Harm?
- Why we have complicated septic tank disposal rules
- Times' up on the RMA
- What to do when you inherit land
- A recent Baseline Group project was recognised at the 2022 Canterbury Architecture Awards
- Change isn't coming, it's here!
- Rural allotment sizes set to double in West Selwyn
- Rural Allotment Sizes set to Double
- The dream of subdividing your land
- RMA changes are coming, are you ready?
- The impact of consent notices when purchasing land
- Indigenous Biodiversity: what does it mean for a farmer?
- Cross lease titles - an overview
- Minimum car parking requirements to be chopped
- The importance of knowing your boundaries
- Managing Cultural Heritage Sites
- Who Pays for Infrastructure in Greenfield Land Development?
- State highways, noise and reverse sensitivity: what’s the buzz?
- Who Shapes our Planning Rules?
- Housing Intensification – Not for Everyone Says CCC
- Hazardous activities, land contamination and resource consent applications
- But that’s the way we have always done it!
- Outstanding Natural Features and Landscapes - effect on farming
- Planning land use to be resilient to natural hazards
- Buildings under exemptions may still need resource consent
- Negotiating with Neighbours Under the RMA