First steps and costs

Knowing which activities need a resource consent and taking time to prepare your application thoroughly and accurately gives you the best start. It means your application is likely to be processed more quickly and will cost less.

Our consents planners provide an hour of free advice after which there is an hourly charge + GST. Read below for application advice and potential costs. 

Which types of activities need a resource consent?
Examples of activities which may require a consent include:
Land use consents:
  • Using land for storing animal effluent or farming
  • Using, placing, altering or removing structures or disturbing the bed of a river or lake.
Discharge permits:
  • Discharging a contaminant to land, water or air (for example, dairy shed effluent to land or dust/smoke to the air)
  • Discharging water to land and/or water (for example stormwater).
Water permits:
  • Taking, using, damming and/or diverting water (for example, irrigation or stockwater).
Coastal permits:
  • Disturbing the foreshore and/or seabed
  • Occupying the coastal marine area.
Sometimes an activity requires more than one resource consent. City and district councils also issue consents for some land uses and subdivisions. Contact us if you need advice.
How to apply
Read our how to apply booklet.
All resource consent application forms can be found here.  We also have tools on this site which will help with various calculations: Make sure you supply the following with all applications:
  • Name and address of applicant
  • A location plan
  • An accurate description of what you want to do
  • An assessment of the likely effects on the environment, both positive and negative. This must include effects on land, air, water and on other people and a description of what you intend to do to avoid, remedy or mitigate any adverse effects.
  • Where required, information regarding nutrient management
  • A record of any consultation with neighbours, iwi and any other affected parties
  • What monitoring you think is necessary, both while your project is underway and after you have completed it and who you think should do it
  • The necessary deposit/fee.
Do I need application advice from Environment Canterbury?
We strongly advise you speak to us early in the process. Our consents planners can provide an hour of free advice after which there is an hourly charge + GST.

You will need to phone us for an appointment. You can visit us or we can visit you on site.

Meeting with us before you embark on an application for a resource consent can be a useful and cost-effective exercise, which will:
  • Provide an overview of the Resource Management Act 1991
  • Help you understand relevant planning rules
  • Confirm and identify what type of consents you may need
  • Help identify what information needs to be included in the consent application, such as environmental assessments, data analysis and cultural impacts
  • Explain how the process works, including potential costs and times
  • Identify and provide contact details for tāngata whenua who may be affected by your application
  • Identify other individuals or groups that may also be affected
  • Explain which situations determine if your application is publicly or limited notified
If your application is large or complex you may need to bring other individuals or groups with you to ensure all parties involved understand what is required. This could include further clarification, feedback and additional data analysis.

Meeting checklist

  • Do other parties need to be part of the meeting?
  • Does your application involve another council?
  • Site identification including a legal description and map
  • Site photos
  • Site plan or proposed plan
  • Description of the proposal
  • Initial data analysis
How much does a resource consent cost?

The consent application process is 100 per cent user-pays.

This means you pay for the time spent on your application by staff, plus expenses, which may include distance travelled, scientific reports and/or consultants.

When you apply for a resource consent you will need to pay a fee/deposit to cover processing costs. Additional expenses may be incurred depending on the complexity of the activity you wish to undertake.

Read more in our Resource Management Act Charges Fact Sheet.

You may need to consult with neighbours or tangata whenua before we can make a decision on a resource consent.
Please read about Ngāi Tahu and consents before proceeding. For general consultation information, click here
Is my consent due to expire?

If your consent is due to expire and you are applying for a new consent for the same activity, section 124 of the Resource Management Act allows you to continue exercising your consent until a new one is either granted or declined and all appeals have been settled if:-

  • The new application is made six months before the expiry of the existing consent; or
  • The new application is made between three and six months before the expiry of the existing consent. In this instance, it is at our discretion to allow the holder to continue to operate.