A resource consent is permission from the local council for an activity that might affect the environment, and that isn’t allowed ‘as of right’ in the district or regional plan. Every day, people apply to their local council for resource consents to do things – put up a garage, subdivide their property, build a multi-storey apartment block, take water from a stream.
Part of the council’s decision-making is to determine whether to process the application as publicly notified, limited notified, or non-notified.
This is generally when the council assesses if a proposal will have or is likely to have adverse effects on the environment that are more than minor. The council publishes its notice of proposal on the internet, and a summary in a newspaper available in the area likely to be affected. Anybody can make a submission on the proposal. Submitters can be for or against an activity, or be neutral but wanting to provide additional information. They can ask to be heard in support of their submission. Publicly notified applications usually involve a public hearing.
An application may also be publicly notified if the applicant requests it, if special circumstances exist, or if the district/regional plan or a national environmental standard says it must.
If a council does not publicly notify an application, it must still decide if there are people who will be adversely affected by the activity to a degree that is at least ‘minor’, known as affected persons. See the box on page 8 for some examples.
The council must notify them of the application unless a rule in a district/regional plan or national environmental standard prevents this. Only those people will be served notice and can make a submission on the application.
The council may decide that the general public need not be involved if the adverse effects on the environment are no more than minor and there are no adversely affected persons (unless they have given their approval). In fact, most resource consent applications fall into this category, which means there is no submission process.
Consent applications may also be non-notified if the applicant has consulted with any potentially affected persons before application, and received their written approval.
What is a resource consent?
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