Resource consents

Under the RMA, district and regional plans set out provisions to manage and protect the environment. These include rules about what people can do.

Some activities can be done as of right, but others need permission. People can seek this permission by applying for a resource consent. Every day, people apply to their local council for resource consents to do things such as putting up a garage, subdividing their property, building a multi-storey apartment block, or taking water from a stream.

A consent often has conditions about how to carry out the activity, to help avoid, mitigate or remedy any adverse effects on the environment.

Notices of requirement/designations

A notice of requirement for a designation is a notice to ‘designate’ an area of land for a particular purpose, such as a road. The notice is issued to the council by a requiring authority, and it outlines the scope or purpose of the designation. If and when a notice of requirement is confirmed by the requiring authority (subject to any appeals), the council incorporates the designation into the district plan.

Sometimes notices of requirement form part of a planning proposal, in relation to a district plan.

More information

What you need to know before you make a submission

The first step is to study the application or notice of requirement. You can request full copies or more information from the council. Publicly notified applications are usually made available to view and download off the council website.

  • Make sure you fully understand what the application involves. Ask council officers to explain any part that is unclear, or seek advice from a planning consultant.
  • Every resource consent application must have an assessment of environmental effects (AEE). This tells you about the potential effects of the activity and how the applicant proposes to manage these.
  • Think carefully about the effect of the proposed activity on the environment. Do you think the AEE’s description is accurate?

You can ask council officers to photocopy key parts of the application, including descriptions of what’s proposed and any plans or drawings. You can then take these away to think about and discuss with other people. You will likely be asked to pay for them – check first.

If you think you may be directly affected, you could consider contacting the person applying for resource consent to discuss:

  • what they want to do
  • how it will affect you
  • how they will reduce adverse effects on the environment.

Check district and regional plans

You can find district and regional plans at council offices and public libraries. Plans are also generally available on the council’s website.

This may help you understand:

  • some of the environmental issues
  • which issues are likely to be relevant to the council decision and which are not.

The objectives or policies in plans will be particularly helpful where they relate to the type of activity proposed, or the area where it might take place.

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