What is a resource consent?
A resource consent is the formal approval issued by us that allows you to carry out an activity that has an impact on the environment or could affect other people. Approval is given under the Resource Management Act 1991 when a proposed building or activity doesn’t comply with the relevant rules in our District Plan.
There are five types of resource consent. We process land use and subdivision consent applications.
Other application types such as coastal, water or discharge permits are processed by Waikato Regional Council.Waikato Regional CouncilMinistry for the Environment: Everyday guide to Getting in on the Act
Do I need a consent?
You’ll need a resource consent if your project breaks any rule in our District Plan or you want to subdivide land.
Land use consent relates to activities undertaken on a specific property and may include:
- new buildings, additions or alterations to buildings
- relocated buildings
- land modifications such as earthworks
- working on or near a protected tree
- undertaking business activities outside of a commercial zone
- advertising signage
- commercial or retail developments.
Subdivision consent applies to activities such as:
- creating a new freehold title
- creating a cross-lease
- creating a unit title development
- boundary adjustment.
You can check our online District Plan to find out the rules and standards relating to your property or give us a call on 07 3760899 to talk to one of our development advisors about your project.
Ministry for the Environment: Everyday Guide to the Resource Management Act 1991
Resource Management Act 1991
Before you apply
Putting together a resource consent application can be complex. Depending on the type of activity, we recommend you work with an experienced professional to help you prepare your application.
You can also arrange a pre-application meeting with our team to give you guidance on what you need to do and how the resource consent process works. We can also let you know if your project requires you to apply for other approvals such as building consent.
To request a pre-application meeting, complete our online form. You will need to include your details, your proposed project, any specific topics you’d like to discuss and any supporting documentation you have such as draft plans or drawings.Pre-application meeting request form
If you would like to discuss your project with one of our development advisors over the phone, give us a call on 07 3760899.
Assessment of environmental effects
All applications must include an assessment of environmental effects (AEE). An AEE identifies the effects your proposed activity will have, or may have, on the environment and how these effects will be managed.
If your activity is likely to have significant effects on the environment then you might like to engage a consultant to prepare the AEE for you.
Our guide can assist you with what to include in your AEE.Guide to preparing an assessment of environmental effects (AEE)
Written approval from affected persons
Where people may be affected by your project, it is useful to consult with them regarding your proposal to find out if they are likely to support it and provide written approval.
If you are unsure who would be considered affected, we can help you identify those who should be consulted with. Give us a call on 07 3760899 or request a pre-application meeting to discuss your proposal.Affected parties formMinistry for the Environment: Everyday guide to the RMA - Consultation for resource consent applicants
Apply for a resource consent
The best method of applying for resource consent is online. You can save your application as you go, upload your documents directly and share your application with other users.
An additional fee will be charged for applications lodged in hard copy or by email.
When applying online, an online services account needs to be created, or logged into if you have any existing one. Application for resource consent
Use the checklist to help you with what information you need to supply with your application:Resource consent application checklist
Ministry for the Environment: Everyday guide to applying for resource consent
Permitted activities are allowed 'as of right' subject to complying with any rules set out in the District Plan. A permitted activity is the only category that does not require you to apply for resource consent.
A council must grant consent if you apply for a controlled activity unless it has insufficient information to determine whether or not the activity is a controlled activity. The council may grant consent subject to conditions that must be complied with. These conditions may only be imposed when they relate to matters specified in the District Plan.
A council may grant or decline consent for a restricted discretionary activity. If granted, conditions may only relate to matters specified in the District Plan.
A council can grant or decline an application for a discretionary activity. If granted, it can impose conditions in relation to any matter that helps to control any of the activity's potential adverse effects.
A council can only grant an application for a non-complying activity if its adverse effects are minor, or if it is consistent with the plan's objectives and policies. If it grants consent, the council can impose conditions in relation to any matter that helps to control the activity's potential adverse effects.
You cannot apply for a resource consent for a prohibited activity.
Once you submit your application
Initial application check
All applications are checked for completeness to ensure we have the required information to start processing your application.
Your application will either be:
- returned as incomplete within 10 working days with the missing information identified
- accepted for processing.
If your application is returned, the statutory processing timeframes will not start until the missing information has been provided.
Payment of the deposit will be checked at this time and should also have been paid to enable processing of the consent to commence.
After your application has been accepted, it will be allocated to one of our resource consent planners to process. The planner will assess the information provided to determine the activity type and how the application will be processed.
Applications can be processed in one of three ways:
Publicly notified resource consents
- non-notified (not advertised)
- limited notified (served only on those who are identified as affected)
- publicly notified (advertised in the local newspaper, our website and served on affected and other statutory parties).
A straight forward, non-notified application should take up to 20 working days to process from the time we accept it. If we need to ask you for further information then the 20 working day clock will be paused until that information has been received in full.
Limited and publicly notified applications will take longer as we need to allow time for affected and interested parties to respond. If a hearing is required then the timeframe will be extended further.
If the planner has questions about your application, they can ask for further information. Your application will be placed on hold and the processing clock paused until the information is received.
As part of the assessment, the planner will visit the site.
Our planner will prepare a report outlining the decision on affected parties and whether the public should be notified about the application. If the decision is for a limited or public notification, payment of the appropriate notification deposit will be required before the application can progress further.
Your application will also be assessed for development contributions.More information: Development contributions
If we are satisfied that the effects of your proposal will be minor and if all affected persons have given their approval in writing, then we will grant your consent, usually subject to conditions.
The decision will be issued along with an invoice for the fees associated with processing your application.
It is important you read your consent and fully understand the conditions prior to commencing the activity.
If the application goes to a hearing, the decision will be made by an independent commissioner(s) or by a hearing panel consisting of elected councillors.
Fees will be calculated based on the time taken to process your application and can include costs such as:
- planning officer time spent processing the application
- administration time spent processing the application
- development engineering time spent processing the application (if applicable)
- monitoring fee for checking compliance with conditions (land use applications only)
- peer review (if applicable)
- hearing and commissioner/councillor costs (notified applications)
Payments can be made online by credit card, or by internet banking.
Be sure to quote your resource consent number (e.g. RMXXXXXX) when paying by internet banking to ensure your payment is allocated to the correct account.
You can object to fees and/or request a full breakdown of the costs.
If we decline your application, and you disagree with our decision, you can formally object to our decision or lodge an appeal with the Environment Court.
What happens next
In most cases, for resource consents you have five years from the day the consent is granted to fulfil the purpose and conditions of the consent.
Granted consents will most likely be issued with conditions you must comply with. We will monitor your site to make sure you comply with those conditions.
A monitoring fee is charged at the time your resource consent is granted. Any additional site visits and time spent on compliance matters will be charged in addition to this fee.
Non-compliance may result in enforcement action such as infringements and abatement notices.Schedule 1 – Infringement offences and fees
Change or cancellation of conditions
If you want to make changes to your consented project, you can apply for a change or cancellation of the conditions of the resource consent. These applications are processed in the same way as an application for a new resource consent and are subject to the same notification assessment and statutory processing timeframes.
An amended proposal that is significantly different to the originally approved consent may require a new resource consent to be obtained.Resource consent application form
Once a resource consent has been issued, in most cases it will lapse if work isn’t started within five years from the date the consent was granted. If your consent lapses, you will need to apply again. Be sure to check the conditions on your consent for any specific time frames.
Extension of time of a resource consent
Application can be made to extend the lapse date of an approved resource consent. Extension applications and decision must be made before the consent lapses.
Give us a call on 07 3760899 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
with your consent details to discuss an extension.
Objection and appeal process
Objecting to Council
A consent applicant may object under section 357A of the Resource Management Act, provided:
- the application was not publicly notified
- if the application was publicly notified or served on your immediate neighbour/s, no submissions were received
- if there were submissions, they were later withdrawn.
You can also object under section 357B of the Resource Management Act if we ask you to pay additional processing charges or costs after the decision has been made.
You need to send your objection to us in writing within 15 working days from the date you received the decision.
In your objection, you should include the reasons for the objection.
The objection process will follow these steps:
- We will consider your objection as soon as practicable and within 20 working days for section 357A objections.
- A planner from the council will consider the objection and discuss it with you. Where resolution cannot be reached, our planner will prepare a report on your objection, summarising the matters that have been raised, and provide a recommendation to either uphold or dismiss your objection.
- A hearing will be held to consider the objection, and we will appoint independent commissioners to determine the objection. You will get a copy of our planner's recommendation report and at least five working days notice of the date, time and place of the hearing.
- The objection may be dismissed or upheld, either in whole or part. We will give you a decision on your objection in writing within 15 working days of the hearing.
If you are dissatisfied with the council's decision on your objection, you may appeal to the Environment Court within 15 working days of the date you received the objection decision.
Appeals to the Environment Court
Appeals to the Environment Court can be made by:
- the applicant or consent holder
- anyone who made a submission.
You need to make your appeal on the prescribed form and pay a filing fee.
More information: Environment Court
You need to lodge your appeal to the Environment Court and send us a copy of your notice of appeal within 15 working days of receiving the decision.
You also need to send a copy of your notice of appeal to every person who made a submission on the application.