New Zealand Law Society - Regulations to address space industry seabed debris

Regulations to address space industry seabed debris

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Environment Minister Nick Smith says new regulations are being proposed to better enable space rocket launches from New Zealand by simplifying the process for dealing with jettisoned material deposited on the seabed in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Dr Smith says the environmental regulations in the EEZ need to be updated to better accommodate the space industry.

"The existing regulations make provisions for activities like minerals exploration and seismic surveying but did not contemplate a space industry in New Zealand when they were written," he says.

Dr Smith says the key change in the proposals is that jettisoned material from space launch vehicles will be a permitted activity under the EEZ Act subject to certain controls.

A discussion paper on the proposal includes the findings of an environmental risk assessment, which considered the impact and risk at different levels of launch activity.

Feedback on the proposals closes at 5pm on Friday, 16 September 2016.

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