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National Environmental Standards (NES)

Contents of the NES

  • Certain activities can be prohibited for which no consents will be granted unless the NES allows.

  • NES cannot allow a permitted activity if it causes significant adverse effects on the environment.

  • NES could require consent review under s128 of the RMA for an activity.

  • NES could specify the type of consents required for an activity (e.g. controlled activity or discretionary activity).

  • NES could specify notification or limited notification requirements for consent applictions.

  • NES can be prescribed for

    • Contaminant levels (including sources, discharges, types and circumstances);

    • Water flows/levels;

    • Water, soil and air quality;

    • Noise level; and

    • Monitoring methods/requirements.

  • A regional rule or resource consent can be stringent than the NES if NES prescribes as such.

  • A regional rule or resource consent may not be less stringent than the NES.

  • If NES is more stringent than the Water Conservation Order, NES will prevail and vice versa.


Steps to be followed by the Minister

  • Notify NES and reasons for NES to the public and iwi.

  • Process allows time and opportunity for recommendations from public/iwi.

  • Produce a cost benefit evaluation report under s32 of the RMA.

  • May not notify any amendments to the existing NES, provided adverse effects are no more than minor.


Steps to be followed by the councils

  • If the rules (or proposed rules) are more stringent without NES directions or the rules (or proposed rules) either conflict with or duplicate the NES, councils must amend the plans as soon as practicable.

  • The above amendment of the plans can be done without following Schedule 1 process of the RMA (i.e. notification, submission, hearing, appeals, Environment Court etc).

  • Review consents under s128 as required by the NES.

  • Observe and enforce NES.

Examples of the NESs to date: