This innovative project uses environmental consent conditions at Winstone Aggregate’s Belmont Quarry to increase staff understanding of resource consents, and other regulatory regimes within which the quarry operates. The quarry has 13 resource consents, 310 consent conditions, one wildlife permit, three certificates of compliance, seven management plans and must comply with the permitted activity rules for a Quarry Zone within the Hutt City Plan.
The magnitude of environmental regulation that must be complied with, particularly when extending a quarry, often turns environmental management into a ‘tick the box’ process. This can result in a lack of understanding of the wider purposes of environmental regulations. This led to the decision to use compliance as an opportunity to increase staff understanding of its purpose and value to us all.
The granting of the resource consents for the expansion provided the opportunity to increase site operator understanding of consents – and in the process make the conditions of consents more relevant to them. Operation Gecko was then born out of a requirement to translocate Ngahere Geckos, discovered on the proposed quarry site during pre-consent surveys. It is an initiative involving Winstone, iwi (Tenths Trust locally, and another iwi with links to Mana Island) and DOC in relocating the geckos to Mana Island off the Kapiti coast.
The project illustrates the importance of quarries constantly engaging with their neighbouring communities and iwi. Wellington has only three major quarries to supply the region. They are an essential regional asset and staff need to be seen to really care about the inevitable environmental impacts of quarrying to ensure continuity of business and community support.