Changes to consenting processes under the RMA - brought about by the Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017 - have come into force, along with a new requirement for planning and some changes to the Conservation Act.
These changes include:
- A range of changes to resource consent processes, such as a new 10-day fast track process for consenting more straight forward activities, clarification of what resource consent conditions can address and stronger consideration of natural hazards in subdivision consents,
- The ability for councils to exempt some boundary activities from needing resource consent (with the relevant neighbours’ approval),
- The ability for councils to exempt marginal or temporary rule breaches from needing resource consent,
- A new process that councils must follow to decide whether or not to notify resource consent applications,
- Preclusions on appeals for some types of consents, targeted at speeding up subdivision and housing-related activities,
- Greater use of the internet to issue public notices and email to serve documents in RMA processes,
- Better alignment of concessions under the Conservation Act with resource consent process,
- A new requirement that if council planning processes are unlikely to meet the two year timeframe, councils must apply to the Minister for the Environment for an extension.
The Ministry for the Environment has produced technical guidance to assist councils with these changes, as well as a series of information sheets designed for the general public.