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Planning, consenting and compliance

Last updated: 24 May 2024
Reporting frequency: Quarterly
Portfolio: Regional and strategic leadership

We are delivering regulatory services (planning, consents and compliance) to sustainably manage our natural resources, and to build confidence and trust in our work.

Our plans, strategies and bylaws provide a framework of work programmes and regulations to help us manage Canterbury's natural and physical resources, setting out what we need to do and how we will do it.

How are we tracking on our Levels of Service?

Level of Service 34: Provide and implement a Regional Policy Statement to achieve integrated management of natural and physical resources in Canterbury – in partnership with Ngāi Tahu and the Canterbury region’s territorial authorities.

As part of this level of this Level of Service we will:

  • 34.1: Progress a review of the Canterbury Regional Policy Statement
  • 34.2: Work collaboratively with the region’s district and city councils to implement and give effect to the Regional Policy Statement

How are we doing: Reviewing the Regional Policy Statement is part of developing an integrated planning framework and we are working in partnership to notify a revised Regional Policy Statement (RPS) by the end of 2024. 

Work is progressing well and notification is expected before the end of 2024. Notification is where proposed amendments are made available to the public and consultation is undertaken.

Each year our planners work with the region's district councils to provide planning support on issues of regional significance, such as district plan reviews, private plan change requests, district development strategies, bylaws, and regionally significant notified resource consent applications. The majority of the work is responsive to the work programmes of the district councils but some is led (or jointly led) by us, particularly in relation to the Greater Christchurch Partnership.

On track
Level of Service 35: Deliver efficient and effective consenting and compliance monitoring and enforcement services to achieve the sustainable management of natural resources as set out in the purpose of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).

There are four targets for this Level of Service:

35.1: Process resource consent applications in a timely manner.

How are we doing: Timeframe compliance to the end of quarter three was 18.8 per cent. We do not expect to meet this target for 2023/24. We are implementing a Sustainable Consents Delivery Plan and have focused on addressing a build-up of applications. Overall timeframe compliance is made up of processing older applications that have already missed the timeframe, and newly lodged ones. As of quarter three, over 70 per cent of new applications lodged are being completed within the statutory timeframe. We expect the overall percentage timeframe compliance to continue to improve as the number of legacy consent applications reduces.

Will not achieve
Level of Service 35: Deliver efficient and effective consenting and compliance monitoring and enforcement services to achieve the sustainable management of natural resources as set out in the purpose of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).

35.2: Assess a sample of consent applications to determine that Environment Canterbury is fully compliant with the requirements of the RMA.

How are we doing: The assessment is being carried out and will be reported on as part of the Annual Report.

On track
Level of Service 35: Deliver efficient and effective consenting and compliance monitoring and enforcement services to achieve the sustainable management of natural resources as set out in the purpose of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).

35.3: Monitor priority consents, as identified in the Compliance Five-year Plan, to ensure compliance with consent conditions.

How are we doing: To the end of quarter three, we have monitored 50.3 per cent of 792 high-priority consents, tracking behind where we expected to be; we anticipated having monitored at least 60 per cent by the end of quarter three. Work continues on this target, but we recognise there is a risk we will not achieve it. At the end of quarter three, there were 68 high-priority consents in process, some of which are very complex with many conditions. These are not included in the number monitored until all monitoring is complete and a grade is allocated to the consent.  

Of the high-priority consents monitored year-to-date, staff have focused on activities of concern and users with a history of non-compliance. Almost 30 per cent of the high-priority consents monitored and graded are moderately or significantly non-compliant. Following up and taking action on known non-compliance of any consents takes priority over scheduled monitoring.  

We currently have 26,192 consents (23,656 of which are currently active). To the end of March 2024, we have monitored and graded 2,161 consents overall and, of that total number, around 9 per cent have been found to be moderately or significantly non-compliant.

At risk
Level of Service 35: Deliver efficient and effective consenting and compliance monitoring and enforcement services to achieve the sustainable management of natural resources as set out in the purpose of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).

35.4: Respond to 80 per cent of elevated (high-priority) pollution events within two days.

How are we doing: We provide an incident response service to ensure the effects of pollution incidents are kept to a minimum. We are on track to meet the target of 80.1 per cent, with 80.1 per cent of 450 elevated pollution events responded to within two days. The response rate was a little lower over the holiday period. In March 2024, we responded to 93.6 per cent of 47 elevated pollution events within two days.

On track

How are we doing on our key initiatives?

Improving delivery of consent processing function

How are we doing: Work is underway to enhance and improve our regulatory processes and procedures to improve delivery of the regulatory lifecycle.

At the end of quarter three, a total of 39 additional staff had been recruited. Work is progressing well, and legacy consent applications have reduced by nearly 40 per cent. The ratio of consents processed to applications received is well above one, meaning that we are actively reducing the build-up of consents awaiting processing. For customers, more robust pre-application advice is available and wait times for a completeness check have been reduced from around eight weeks to 10 days.

Find out more about consents.

Monitor
Improving delivery of compliance monitoring and enforcement

How are we doing: A compliance improvement project team has been established and is working on exploring and delivering new initiatives.

We publish annual snapshots of consent monitoring activity and our response to environmental pollution incidents. If you are aware of an environmental incident that seems time critical, please call our incident line on 0800 765 588 (24 hours) or report it using the Snap Send Solve app from your mobile phone.

Monitor

Recent highlights and updates

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