Monitoring of consents

Date: 27 October 2023
Reporting Frequency: Annually
Goal: Consent holders comply with consent conditions to mitigate environmental impact.
Progress: 70.9% of inspections received a compliant A  grade in 2022/23.

About this goal

During 2022/23 there were 4,163 inspections for 3,345 consents across the region. As of 30 June 2023, 473 consent inspections are still being graded. Of the graded consents around:

  • 47.1% of inspections were for water consent
  • 33% were for discharge consents
  • 18.2% were for land-use consents
  • 1.7% were for coastal consents.

2022-23 Annual Report

Environmental regulation and protection is a core service. To achieve this, we undertake effective and targeted consent compliance monitoring around the region.

In the past year, we did 4,163 inspections across Canterbury to make sure consent holders are doing what is required to protect our environment.

As a Council, it is important that we:

  • Ensure effective and targeted consent compliance monitoring (this report)
  • Respond quickly to as many incident reports as possible (incident response report).

Our goal is to deal with environmental risks before they turn into incidents and cause damage.

Monitoring consent compliance and responding to incidents, while necessary and important, are more like the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. They are needed to fix a problem often after the environmental damage has occurred and to prevent it from happening again.

The consents we monitor and how we monitor them is changing. With more than 23,000 consents that need monitoring, we are finding smarter ways to do compliance monitoring and smarter ways to identify non-compliance so we can focus our efforts on the right places.

Monitoring compliance

We are working with land managers, individuals, and industry to improve compliance to ensure the best long-term environmental results.

Resource consents allow people or organisations to do something that may have an effect on the environment, but this comes with conditions to protect the environment.

It is important consent holders comply with their conditions otherwise they can have a negative impact on the environment.

The importance of compliance

There are over 23,000 active resource consents in Canterbury, so it is not possible without considerable cost to monitor every consent every year. We work with land managers, individuals and industry to achieve voluntary compliance, ensuring the best long-term environmental results.

As long as we have consents with conditions we will continue to monitor them to ensure the activity is compliant. But what consents we monitor and how we monitor is changing. We are more focused on monitoring high-risk consents or those consent holders with poor compliance history. Better technology is improving our ability to monitor activities for compliance without having to do as many physical site visits.

Assessment grades by inspection

 Due to rounding, numbers presented throughout this webpage and other documents may not add up precisely to the totals provided and percentages may not precisely reflect the absolute figures.

What the grades mean

 A - Full compliance 
Full compliance with all relevant consent conditions, plan rules, regulations and national environmental standards.

 B - Low risk non-compliance
Compliance with most of the relevant consent conditions, plan rules, regulations and national environmental standards. Carries a low risk of adverse environmental effects.

 C - Moderate non-compliance
Non-compliance with some of the relevant consent conditions, plan rules, regulations and national environmental standards. Some environmental consequence.

 D - Significant non-compliance
Non-compliance with many of the relevant consent conditions, plan rules, regulations and national environmental standards. Significant environmental consequence.

How we're responding

If there is an issue, our first response is to work with individuals and businesses to stop any immediate environmental damage.

We then investigate to determine what actions should be taken, including enforcement.

  • Education can achieve better outcomes and is valued by consent holders who need help. If education does not get the right results, there are a range of compliance actions as set out below:
  • Formal written warnings notify of an offence and require action to be taken.
  • Infringement notices, which include a fine, are issued for more significant breaches.
  • Abatement notices are a formal written direction, requiring certain actions to be taken or to cease within a specified time.
  • Prosecution is reserved for offences so serious that they warrant proceedings through the courts.

Find out more