Compliance monitoring and enforcement 5-year plan

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.

CME 5-year plan, cows and irrigators

As part of this, the existing, new (informed by national and community expectations) and emerging priorities were identified.

The six priorities for this financial year are:

Fish screens
Fish screens are designed to protect fish

 Fish screens are designed to protect fish

What is a fish screen?

A fish screen is a structure designed to protect fish, including trout, salmon and native fish, by keeping them out of water takes where the inlet could impact fish. Water takes are used for irrigation, stock-water, community supplies or hydro-electric power generation.

In Canterbury there are around 900 fish screens consented – these consents must have a compliant fish screen, usually designed and engineered for a specific surface water take to ensure fish remain in the waterway from where water is being taken, without being harmed.

5 - year plan

Year 1 2020/2021
  • Develop framework for the design, approval and monitoring of ‘action plans’ for non-compliant fish screens, including opportunities for outsourcing industry/third party provider involvement (an action plan refers to a consent holder’s plan to make their fish screen compliant).
  • Assess a possible catchment approach to better align to our Treaty Partner priorities and better community and stakeholder engagement.
  • Develop an approach to promote consolidation of multiple fish screens into one screen where these opportunities exist. Consolidation involves a group of consent holders working collaboratively to install a single effective fish screen, which is likely to be more cost-effective and have higher environmental performance than multiple screens.
  • Monitor an additional 60 high-risk fish screens (about 300 over the next five years).
  • Track progress against action plan reports every six months.
Year 2 2021/2022
  • Implement ‘action plan’ approval process.
  • Monitor an additional 60 high-risk fish screens.
  • Track progress against fish screen ‘action plans’.
Year 3 2022/2321
  • Assess ‘action plan’ approval process and implement improvements as required.
  • Monitor an additional 60 high-risk fish screens.
  • Track progress against fish screen ‘action plans’.
Year 4 2023/2024
  • Assess ‘action plan’ approval process and implement improvements as required.
  • Monitor an additional 60 high-risk fish screens.
  • Track progress against fish screen ‘action plans’.
Year 5 2024/2025
  • Monitor an additional 60 high-risk fish screens.
  • Track progress against fish screen ‘action plans’.
Good management practices

What are the campaigns about?

The Land and Water Regional Plan (LWRP) introduced a new rule framework requiring all farmers to implement good management practice (GMP), have an environmental plan and put limits on nitrogen losses from farms. Farming activities that pose a high risk to the environment, such as farms with high nitrogen losses, more than 50 hectares of irrigation or involve winter
grazing practices, need a specific resource consent which includes an independently audited Farm Environment Plan (FEP).

The Farming Land Use (FLU) Consent Campaigns began in 2017 with a main focus on supporting farmers to understand and comply with the new requirements. The campaigns were prioritised into four different target groups, beginning with farms with more than 50 hectares of irrigation, then following up with farms in Selwyn, Hinds and the South Coastal Canterbury areas.

The majority of farmers meeting their new obligations, with only a very small number requiring some form of enforcement action. We also launched another major awareness campaign with a focus on farms that may require a FLU consent under the more recent Plan Change 5 requirements.

5 - year plan

Year 1  - 2020/2021
  • We will continue to focus on concluding the first four targeted groups and implementing any enforcement action as necessary. There is also a significant awareness campaign being launched with a focus on all remaining farms that may require a FLU consent under more recent rules.
  • Monitoring compliance with FLU consents is also a priority that will primarily focus on farms that receive a C or D grade for their FEP audit. Undertaking enforcement action as required.

Year 2  - 2021/2022
  • Will continue with the delivery and conclusion of existing campaigns, and monitoring compliance with FLU consents, including undertaking enforcement action on farms that receive a C or D grade for their FEP audit.
Year 3 - 2022/2023
  • This year will require a new campaign focusing on recent Plan Change 7 (PC7) requirements. There will be a new group of farms that will require a FLU consent that have not needed one in the past. This will include direct contact to ensure awareness of any new responsibilities and that compliance is achieved.
  • There is still a continued focus on ensuring compliance with FLU consents and FEP audits.

Year 4 - 2023/2024
  • Continue with the delivery and conclusion of the PC7 campaign, with continued focus on monitoring compliance with FLU consents and FEP audits.

Year 5 - 2024/2025
  • We anticipate that all farms that require a FLU consent will have obtained one and the focus will solely be on ensuring everyone is complying with their consents, including receiving a compliant grade for their FEP audit.
High priority consents

What is a high priority consent?

These are consents we consider to be of highest priority based on the following:

  • High risk to the environment
  • High importance to the community
  • High volume of water usage, and
  • Regional coverage

If a consent falls into this category then is it monitored at least annually, but often more frequently. We also take a case management approach for these types of consents, meaning customised monitoring programmes particularly for consent holders with hold multiple consents.

In some cases, the environmental risk of a consent may change over time. For example, when a new bridge or subdivision is constructed the highest risk is at the beginning when soil is exposed, or rivers diverted. But once the project is complete the risk to the environment is generally low.

In deciding our list of high priority consents, we also considered whether the consent holder was one of the following:

  • All territorial authorities (including Environment Canterbury)
  • All Government Ministries and Departments
  • Irrigation schemes
  • Water User Groups
  • Significant partners and stakeholders (Ngai Tahu, Fish & Game, Forest & Bird)
  • Power companies
  • Farming collectives
  • Regional infrastructure (ports, airport)
  • Regional construction/gravel companies
  • Marine farms and freshwater salmon farms
  • The very largest water takes in the region
  • Community wastewater schemes (not captured by territorial authorities)
  • High profile (organisational risk) activities

5 - year plan

Year 1  - 2020/2021
  • Ensure all high priority consents are monitored as required.
  • Review annual priorities based on Council, Treaty Partners and community priorities.
  • Develop and implement annual reporting.
Year 2  - 2021/2022
  • Ensure all high priority consents are monitored as required.
  • Continue to monitor, review and report on high priority consents.
  • Analyse trends, gaps and emerging risks to improve the monitoring programme.
Year 3 - 2022/2023
  • Continue to monitor, review and report on high priority consents.
  • Monitor effectiveness of work programme.
Year 4 - 2023/2024
  • Continue to monitor, review and report on high priority consents.

  • Monitor effectiveness of work programme.

  • Build awareness amongst consent holders.

Year 5 - 2024/2025
  • Analyse data to develop an understanding of impact of the 5-year programme.
Incident response

Helping protect our environment

The public play an important role in protecting our region’s natural resources. Every year, we receive about 4,000 reports region wide regarding incidents with potential to harm the quality of our air, land or water.

We provide a 24-hour point of contact for reporting environmental incidents to ensure a suitable response occurs. We respond to environmental incidents and consent breaches with a range of enforcement procedures, to remediate adverse effects, educate those responsible, and prevent similar incidents recurring.

Due to the high volume of reports, we respond to the most serious incidents first.

Find  how many incidents we responded over the last year.

Report an environmental incident

If you’re concerned an activity may be damaging our environment then please call us on 0800 765 588 (24 hours) to report it, or use the Snap Send Solve app to report it from your mobile phone.

Our focus

As incident response is reactive, we can’t plan for it. However, there are common themes when it comes to incident response, and we try – where possible – to work with the community and consent holders to prevent these incidents from happening.

Here’s what we’ve been focusing on this year so far:

Stock in waterways

Environment Canterbury and Fish & Game have agreed on a response protocol to ensure incidents, particularly those involving intensive stock, are dealt with appropriately.

Under this protocol, we’ve committed to doing site visits for 80 per cent of all complaints within five working days for extensive farms and two working days for intensive farms.

Find out more about our response to stock in waterways.

Odour

We have recently introduced a ‘Smelt-It’ app for our community in Bromley to help identify odours within this Christchurch suburb.

We’ve appointed two staff who respond to this and its led to us pinpointing odours and working with the offenders to resolve the issues.

Outdoor burns
The Canterbury Air Regional Plan restricts outdoor burning to reduce pollution, manage effects on air quality, and prevent smoke from affecting neighbours.
Dust

Over the last several years there have been a lot of complaints about dust from quarries in the Yaldhurst area.

A programme was run that led to us calling for better dust management by quarry operators. Since then, we’ve engaged with industry to have all quarries with sensitive boundaries install boundary monitoring devices. Last summer was the first season where quarries used the monitoring devices to assist with monitoring objectionable and/or offensive dust over the boundary.

We have seen improvement in the past few years, and we’ve made it a priority to work with quarry operators in the Yaldhurst area to ensure industry level compliance. While it has demonstrated they are achieving good practices, we met with industry in July to discuss how to improve the communication with community to deliver these ongoing findings.

Monitoring officers will continue to conduct inspections of quarry operations on a regular basis.

Of the 3877 incidents reported in 2019/20 – 1196 were classed as elevated with 63.4% being escalated to an officer to deal with.
2681 were classed standard incident of which 56.2% being escalated to an officer to deal with.

*15% of all incidents reported failed to provide sufficient evidence to respond to. Elevated are prioritised pollution events and standard are low priority events.

  • Advice and education: 780
  • Written warnings: 183
  • Infringement notices: 49
  • Abatement notices: 30
  • Prosecutions initiated: 2
  • No environmental impact: 507
  • Referred int/ext: 414
  • Retrospective consent required: 2
  • Verified but compliant: 185

Next year: We plan to focus on sediment control on subdivision/building and construction sites within Canterbury, as well as winter grazing.

Water use monitoring

Environment Canterbury manages more than 5000 permits (with over 7,900 individual water abstraction points) that allow consent holders to take, use, divert or dam water from groundwater or surface water sources.

To ensure these water takes are managed effectively, our staff monitor the metered water use data against consent conditions. Metering of water takes is required for many surface water and groundwater takes under the Resource Management (Measurement and Reporting of Water Takes) Regulations 2010 and its 2020 amendments (the ‘national regulations’). These regulations also specify that metered water use data is to be provided to the Council at least annually.

We can’t practically monitor all 5,000 every year, so we use various tools to select consents for monitoring. This includes a software tool that assesses daily actual water use over the summer months and compares the take rate and volume of consents to consent conditions.

This generates “water use alerts”, which are followed up by monitoring officers.

In addition, end-of-season monitoring occurs using a decision-making tool that assesses environmental and compliance criteria to determine an overall “risk score” for each consent.

This means that in addition to water take characteristics, the tool applies other criteria, such as compliance history, and infrastructure and consent complexities.

5 - year plan

Year 1 2020/21

The monitoring system in place for water use compliance, as described above, relies on information on the provided water usage.

The programme’s overall focus, now and for the foreseeable future, is to undertake work to:

  • improve and automate data and information submission processes
  • update tools and systems, and educate consent holders, to enable
  • implementation of changes to the national regulations, and
  • develop new tools for improved and simpler analysis of water
  • use data
Year 2 2021/22
  • Consent holder education to implement updated national regulations for takes >20l/s.
  • Updating and extending the data management guidelines to ensure any new changes are incorporated. The guideline provides best practice processes and requirements.
  • Continuous improvement for quality assurance/ quality control of water use data and metadata, as well as tool and system improvements.
Year 3 2022/23
  • Update and extend the “Water Use Manual”.
  • Continuous improvement for quality assurance/ quality control of water use data and metadata, as well as tool and system improvements.
Year 4 2023/24
  • Consent holder education to implement updated national regulations for takes >10l/s.
  • Continuous improvement for quality assurance/ quality control of water use data and metadata, as well as tool and system improvements.
Year 5 2024/25
  • Continuous improvement for quality assurance/quality control of water use data and metadata, as well as tool and system improvements.
Zone priorities

What are zone priorities?

We have divided Canterbury into ‘zones’, as follow:

The term ‘zone priorities’ relates to consents that are regarded as being important to the local community and rūnanga, but which may only be a high priority to one specific zone at a specific point in time.

Every six months we’ll be focusing on a new zone and the compliance monitoring and enforcement (CME) activities that have been undertaken there.

If you are interested in what activities are happening within your specific Water Zone Committee, visit our water zone pages.

5 - year plan

Year 1 2020/21 - Christchurch and Banks Peninsula sediment erosion campaign

We are taking an integrated approach to improve the water quality and clarity of Cashmere Stream and the Ōpāwaho/Heathcote River by working with local rūnanga, community groups and local councils, as well as monitoring compliance with regional rules and resource consents.

A soil type found in the Port Hills – fine clay-sized loess particles – is particularly problematic. When sediment ends up in our waterways, it can smother freshwater habitats resulting in loss of aquatic flora and fauna.

Over the winter, we conducted on-site reviews of erosion and sediment control practices at building sites in Cashmere and the Port Hills. All builders/contractors were receptive to our visits during the campaign where we found the majority were doing everything right. However, 11 notices of non- compliance were issued meaning that the site owners needed to change their behaviours.

Following on from last year we have seen significant positive behaviour changes across the development and building industries. We are planning to continue our sediment erosion management upskilling and increasing our monitoring outreach across Christchurch. This will help to support Environment Canterbury, the Christchurch City Council and community aspirations of improved water quality in urban waterways.

  • Next update from the Upper Waitaki zone.
Year 2: 2021/22
  • Review of previous years projects and priorities expected in April 2021.
  • Ensuring we continue with incorporation of rūnanga values.
  • Update from Kaikōura and the Hurunui Waiau zones.
Year 3: 2022/23
  • Long-term projects reviewed and new projects confirmed in April 2022.
  • Ensuring we continue with incorporation of rūnanga values.
  • Update from Waimakariri and Banks Peninsula zones.
Year 4: 2023/24
  • Long-term projects reviewed and new projects confirmed in April 2023.
  • Ensuring we continue with incorporation of rūnanga values.
  • Update from Selwyn Waihora and Ashburton zones.
Year 5: 2024/25
  • Long-term projects reviewed and new projects confirmed in April 2023.
  • Ensuring we continue with the incorporation of rūnanga values.
  • Update from Orari Temuka Opihi Pareora and Lower Waitaki zones.