Quick answers

What enforcement tools do Environment Canterbury have available when responding to environmental offences?

Environmental offences can be serious criminal offences under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). Individuals can be imprisoned for up to two years and fined up to $200,000. Companies can be fined up to $600,000.

Environment Canterbury has a number of options ranging from a verbal warning, right through to applying to the Environment Court for an enforcement order and/or prosecution.

What is the process of reporting pollution or other environmental incidents?

It is important to contact Environment Canterbury as soon as possible if you notice an activity which has the potential for environmental harm.  Incidents are referred to officers who will determine the most appropriate response.

Will I be informed of the outcome when I report an environmental incident?

We make every effort to respond to customers who report incidents. In some cases, we are unable to due to the information being provided anonymously. Our investigations can take time to complete and for legal reasons we may not be able to share the details of enforcement action being pursued.

Why would Environment Canterbury issue an infringement notice?

Infringement notices are suitable for responding quickly to relatively minor offences that do not warrant prosecution.

When an alleged offence is classified as an infringement, it requires the payment of a fine but without the record of a conviction. The fines, which are set by regulation, range from $300 to $1000.

All offenders who receive infringement notices are published on our website for 12 months.

Why would Environment Canterbury issue an abatement notice?
Abatement notices can be issued under sections of the RMA in any situation where an Enforcement Officer has reasonable grounds to believe there are adverse effects or a contravention to the act, and a specific action should be taken to avoid or mitigate those effects.
Abatement notices are published on our website and removed when compliance is achieved.
Infringement notices and fines can be issued for failure to comply with an abatement notice. Failure to comply with the abatement notice may incur a $750 infringement fine.
Can an officer issue an infringement notice if the occupier is out or does not answer the door?

An infringement notice may be issued later where appropriate at the officer's discretion, even if the occupier was not there for the visit or was unco-operative.