You are welcome to request a free pre-application meeting for up to one hour to discuss resource consent requirements, or an application you have prepared before you lodge it for processing. Please phone us on 0800 76 88 45 to book an appointment.
Ideally all farms will have developed a farm environmental management plan. It’s an essential part of any farming business. However, for this winter, the general requirements remain the same. If you are not changing the scope, scale or intensity of your winter grazing operation, then you are able to continue without the need for a resource consent. This is what’s called ‘Existing Use Rights’ under the Resource Management Act. If you are making changes, then you will need to supply your farm environmental management plan upon request. The other situation where you would need a farm environmental management plan is if you are applying for a consent, or you are part of a compliance enforcement process.
The plans page list a range of activities which are "permitted". This means you do not need a resource consent provided you meet the conditions of the relevant permitted activity rule.
However, you may need to apply for a resource consent when:
- your proposed activity is not specifically addressed in the plan;
- your proposed activity cannot meet the conditions of the relevant permitted activity rule; and/or
- your proposed activity is listed as a controlled, restricted discretionary, discretionary, or non-complying activity.
You may need a resource consent if you wish to:
- dam, divert, take and/or use water;
- undertake activities in the coastal marine area;
- undertake activities in/over/near waterbodies;
- discharge contaminants to air, land or water;
- and/or use land for certain activities.
If you are uncertain as to whether you need a consent for your proposed activity, please contact the duty consents officer on 0800 76 88 45 or email@example.com for further advice. We can provide information on what consents you might need, how to apply, and what information you'll need to provide. Additionally, you are welcome to request a free half-hour meeting to discuss your application and any questions you may have before you lodge it for processing.
There are currently a number of resource management plans in play. This is because the rules in the decisions version of the proposed Southland Water and Land Plan have legal effect from 4 April 2018, but the existing operative plans still have full legal effect and weight.
Some existing activities have been allowed (permitted) by the operative plans, but they need a resource consent under the proposed plan.
In some cases, you may be able to continue your existing activities without consent if the effects are the same or similar in character, intensity and scale, and you were carrying out this activity before the notification of the decisions version of the proposed plan (4 April 2018). Please note: You cannot determine whether Existing Use Rights apply in your situation for yourself - give our consents team a call to discuss.
Check out this page to see which rules apply https://www.es.govt.nz/environment/consents/which-rules-apply
The Ministry for the Environment's guide Applying for a Resource Consent provides detail to help with understanding the resource consent process. We strongly recommend reading this document before preparing your application. The same website also provides a helpful overview of the main stages of the application process.
In a consent application, you must also consider the hierarchy of obligations and demonstrate how you will ensure freshwater is managed appropriately for your activity.
It is important to actively engage tangata whenua to provide a comment on your application if the activity is occurring within or affecting a statutory acknowledgement area or more generally if your activity could affect the quality or quantity of freshwater.
The Council decides whether the application will be non-notified, limited notified, or publicly notified, on the basis of how it will affect the environment and/or other parties. This will affect whether written approvals will be needed, or if submissions from other parties can be made.
If an application is notified, it means that there is a specified period in which other parties can make a formal submission on the application. Notification may be "limited" so that only certain parties can submit, or "public" so that anyone can submit.
More information about the different types of notification can be found in the document Applying for a Resource Consent produced by the Ministry for the Environment.
Consultation involves discussing your proposed activity with potentially affected parties before lodging your application. The Ministry for the Environment has developed a Guide to Consultation in order to assist applicants undertaking consultation.
Environment Southland has a GIS mapping service called Beacon, which is available to the public. Here you can find property details, consents in your area, and environmental information such as soil classifications and water quality.
The Resource Management Act 1991 requires regional councils to process consent applications in 20 working days. However, this length of time can increase under certain circumstances including when:
- further information is required
- a technical review is commissioned
- written approvals from affected parties are needed
- the application is notified
- a hearing is required
If you have an application lodged with Environment Southland, the processing officer will keep you updated with its progress.
The proposed Southland Water and Land Plan is currently in a formal Environment Court process. The plan has been divided into two parts – Topic A and Topic B. The court heard from all parties in relation to Topic A in September and October last year, and released an interim decision on this topic in late December 2019. The next steps and the timing will be determined by the court.
The plan will be final once the court issues its final decision and any appeals to the High Court are considered. We cannot say with certainty when this will be but it is unlikely to occur before the end of the year.