Resource consent is basically an authorization that is given to specific activities or uses of physical and natural resources needed under the RMA, which is popular as the New Zealand Resource Management Act. Some of the activities may be authorized by RMA specifically or be permitted activities authorized by the rules in the plans. Any activity, which isn’t permitted by the New Zealand Resource Management Act or by the rule in the plan, need a resource consent before being carried out.
The word ‘resource consent’ is generally defined as:
- A permit for carrying out an activity, which would otherwise break the rule in district or city plan
- Permission needed for carrying out an activity, which may have an impact on the environment and that which is not allowed as right on the regional or district plan
Resource consent can mean land use consent, subdivision consent, water permit, discharge permit or coastal permit.
Applications for the resource consents are generally granted by territorial authorities and regional councils acting as the consent authorities but resource consent consultants in NZ can be of great help here. Any individual can apply for resource consent. Applications should be in a prescribed form and include assessment of the environmental effects. The process of resource consent is designed to allow the environmental managers to consider the environmental issues that are related to the specific proposals for the resource use.
Although the principle is praiseworthy, there are a lot of complex issues, which revolve around evaluating the effects on environment of consent application and consideration of the applications.
Resource consent can be granted with some conditions, which require to be complied with to ensure minimal effects on the environment. After being granted to an applicant, it is neither personal nor real property. Thus, resource consents can never be owned. They are generally held by the consent holders.
Decisions with regards to resource consent applications can be appealed to Environment Court. Appeals are regarded on the basis of ‘de novo’ where Environment Court hears any proof it needs and makes its own verdict that replaces that of the local authority. Decisions of Environment Court can only be appealed to New Zealand’s High Court on a point of law.