What is 'outstanding' natural character?

The qualifier ‘outstanding’ in relation to natural character is new, having been introduced by the NZCPS 2010. The Department of Conservation workshop held in September 2011 1547  identified a possible approach to identification of ‘outstanding’ natural character areas in the context of the Marlborough District:

Outstanding is a comparative evaluative term often regarded as pertaining to areas that are predominantly to very highly natural i.e. with a preponderance of natural elements and features that means they may appear close to pristine (though not entirely pristine or wholly natural, as few parts of New Zealand can attain this standard). As with outstanding natural landscapes, the coastal environment may have high natural character on a wide range of parameters and, in that context, be outstanding.

Methods to identify ‘outstanding natural character’: the coastal environment may be outstanding where it has very high levels of naturalness. Assessment to establish whether a coastal sector has outstanding natural character is generally undertaken when all or part of the coastal environment is initially assessed. High or very high natural character is not the same as outstanding and is likely to focus on areas in which there is a prevalence of remnant natural elements and features, but not a preponderance –  as in areas of outstanding natural character. Outstanding is a category of its own, and its determination will depend on context, as some territorial areas have more residual natural character than others.

Criteria for ‘outstanding natural character’: Those areas containing a combination of elements, patterns and processes that are exceptional in their intactness, integrity and lack of built structures and other modifications compared to others in the same territorial area.

Last updated at 2:14PM on February 25, 2015