Making submissions on resource consent applications

As the regional council we manage and protect the environment, following provisions in the Resource Management Act (RMA), district and regional plans.

If an activity is unable to meet the criteria for using public resources set out in these plans as a permitted activity, then a resource consent would be required. Obtaining a resource consent allows an activity that would otherwise be illegal, to occur by allowing it subject to specific conditions. 

In processing consent applications, we must follow current legislation, which is set out in a suite of national and regional planning frameworks including the Resource Management Act (RMA), National Policy Statements, National Environmental Standards, and regional and iwi management plans.

Notified consents

If the environmental effects are more than minor, the resource consent will require  notification under Section 95A of the Resource Management Act. There are two options:

  1. Publicly notified – for significant environmental effects, the application is advertised for submissions from the public.
  2. Limited notified – for relatively localised environmental effects, submissions are invited from affected people.

Before you make a submission

If the application has been publicly notified, or you are an affected party to a limited notified application, you can make a submission to Environment Canterbury with your views on the application.

If you are thinking about whether to make a submission on a resource consent application, we recommend you do the following:

  • Read the resource consent proposal
  • Review the assessment of environmental effects (AEE), plans and/or drawings
  • Discuss the matter with Environment Canterbury staff or planning consultants if there is anything that is unclear (please note, our staff cannot guide you in what to
  • Check district and regional plans, if relevant.
  • Consider talking with the applicant
  • Think carefully about the effect of the activity on you and the environment.

Making a submission

A submission is the way Environment Canterbury and the applicant can take into account any views, comments or concerns about the resource consent application.

Submissions can:

  • Support the application
  • Oppose the application
  • Support or oppose parts of the consent application
  • Neither support or oppose (be neutral). 

If others feel the same way as you about the application, you could consider making a joint submission (eg forming a community group and appointing a spokesperson). Make sure you clearly identify them as the contact person for the submission. 

You can either use our online submission form, download and fill our a paper copy, or write your own submission.

What to include in your submission

  • Focus on the environmental effects, positive or negative
  • Be specific about your concerns and how you want them addressed
  • Tell the council what you want or any conditions you are seeking on the consent
  • Indicate whether you want to speak at a hearing.

What to leave out of your submission

  • Personal feelings about the applicant
  • Other applications
  • Issues that relate to trade competition.

Will there be a hearing?

A hearing will take place for a publicly notified or limited notified consent if any of the following situations occurs, either:

  • submitters wish to be heard, or
  • consent applicant requests a hearing, or
  • Environment Canterbury considers it necessary. 

If a hearing is held, hearing commissioner/s will be appointed by Environment Canterbury to make a decision on the resource consent application or applications. Hearings involving commissioners comply with the principles of fairness and justice. Hearing Commissioners are independent decision makers that must hold a certification under the Making Good Decisions programme.