Working together to achieve compliance

Using our zone delivery teams we aim to work with resource users to ensure they comply with their resource consents, regional rules and other Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) obligations. We also work with zone committees and use a risk-based approach to focus our attention in the right areas across Canterbury.

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It’s our priority to ensure that our community, and specifically resource consent holders, have the right information and tools to maintain compliance. If we detect repeated or significant non-compliance we use the powers available to us to ensure this is remedied.

Why does compliance matter?

It is critical that resource users comply with the social contract that exists between them and their community to achieve sustainable management of natural and physical resources. This contract is set through the RMA and via the regional rules and resource consents in Canterbury.

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There is an obligation in the RMA, as well as an expectation from the community, that Environment Canterbury checks that resource users are acting sustainably and within the limits set. Without this oversight we can’t ensure resources will be available to be shared sustainably by people and the natural environment in the future.

What happens if I don't comply?

Our community expects resource users, particularly consent holders, to comply with their obligations. If we find significant non-compliances we act accordingly and utilise our powers under the RMA to ensure compliance is achieved. We use a range of tools to do this, including enforcement action if necessary.

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There are approximately 24,000 resource consents in Canterbury. In any given year we check about 40 to 50 per cent of these consents using a risk-based approach. From this we’ve found that approximately 80 per cent of consent holders comply and 20 per cent require some form of intervention.

Reporting back - How is Canterbury doing?

We use a range of regulatory and non-regulatory rules to achieve sustainable management. It is everyone’s responsibility to comply with the relevant rules and requirements. We monitor consents, assess compliance, work with consent holders and take enforcement action when required. We also respond to environmental incidents to reduce environmental damage.

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In line with the Canterbury Water Management Strategy, we have changed the way we deliver compliance. Our officers now work in multidisciplinary zone teams that are aligned with water zone committees that work more closely with their local communities. This will deliver more integrated services for the people of Canterbury.

What are our focus areas in the next 5 years?

As part of Environment Canterbury’s compliance monitoring and enforcement (CME) programme, a five-year plan was created which strengthens the Council’s more risk-based prioritisation approach and identifies six focus areas.

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Our six priorities for this financial year are: Fish screens, Good management practices, High priority consents, Incident response, Water use monitoring and Zone priorities. Find out more about each of these priorities and what we need to achieve in the next five years.