About Resource Consents

Any land development or use of natural or physical resources that may affect the environment may require a resource consent.

Applying for a resource consent enables your plans to be assessed against many regulations and legislation designed to protect people and the environment.  These include the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), and Whangarei's District Plan. 

Sometimes a resource consent is not required and another form of permission may be needed. These can include a Certificate of Compliance or a Notice of Requirement. Our video provides a basic overview of the Resource Consent process.

The process for applications for Resource Consents for subdivision and land use, Certificates of Compliance for permitted activities that don’t need a resource consent, and Notices of Requirement for Designation are outlined here. 

About the application process

The process

Step 1.Read guidance notes

Read our detailed guidance notes.

Resource Consents Application guidance notes

Step 2.Gather supporting information

You will need to:

  • complete an Assessment of Environmental Effects
  • obtain a building consent if your proposal includes any building work
  • comply with the National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in the Soil
  • comply with environmental engineering standards where land development involves the creation of infrastructure (i.e. roads, storm water, water and wastewater systems) to understand the minimum acceptable levels for engineering design.

Building Consent 

Environmental Engineering Standards

National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in the Soil (mfe.govt.nz)

Schedule 4 of the Resource Management Act 1991 (legislation.govt.nz)

Step 3.Check requirements with Northland Regional Council

There may be other aspects to your application which need additional consents from Northland Regional Council (NRC). These include:

  • discharge permit - generally for stormwater or sewerage
  • earthworks permit - for site or construction works
  • water permit - for taking or damming of water
  • coastal permit - for activities in the coastal marine area.

Northland Regional Council Consents (nrc.govt.nz)

Step 4.Talk to us

We recommend that you arrange a pre-application meeting in the early stages of planning your proposal and before submitting your application. 

It's an opportunity to discuss your proposal and any planning matters which may affect processing of your application. 

Step 5.Apply

When you have compiled all the necessary information, complete the relevant application form.

Attach the information to it and pay the fee applicable to your application. Once we have adequate information we will start processing your application. 

Apply for a Resource Consent

Apply for a Certificate of Compliance

Submit a Notice of Requirement

We will do an initial check of your application to make sure:

  • it has been fully completed
  • the necessary information is included
  • the relevant fees have been paid.

If we find any issues that mean the application can't be lodged, we will let you know the reasons why. 

When all the information is provided and the fee has been paid, our planning staff will then check to make sure your application meets the Resource Management Act regulations. 

A member of our planning team will visit the site and prepare a report with recommendations, which is then reviewed by a senior planner.

Certificate of Compliance

We aim to process your application within 20 working days. If we need further information at any stage during the process we stop the 'processing clock' until you have provided this information.

Subdivision and Land Use consent

We aim to process your application within the following timeframes: 

  • 20 working days - non-notified applications
  • 60 working days - notified applications, if a hearing is not required
  • 100 working days - notified applications if a hearing is required.

If you need to provide further information at any stage during the process, the 'processing clock' will stop until you have provided this information.

Setting conditions

During the processing of your resource consent application, we may set conditions on the granting of the consent. Conditions may include: 

  • undertaking and completing engineering works
  • specifying engineering requirements, including plans of the activity
  • providing a performance bond
  • protecting, restoring and enhancing a natural or physical resource including planting vegetation
  • providing an esplanade reserve or strip
  • entering into a covenant/consent notice
  • measuring and monitoring impacts of the activity.

Find out how to establish a conservation covenant.

Conservation Covenant

Notice of Requirement

We aim to process your application within the following timeframes. 

  • 20 working days - non-notified applications
  • 60 working days - notified applications if a hearing is not required
  • 100 working days - notified applications if a hearing is required.

If we need you to provide further information at any stage during the process, the 'processing clock' will stop until you have provided this information. 

Land use consent

We will process your application within 20 working days.

If we need you to provide further information at any stage during the process, the 'processing clock' will stop until you have provided this information. 

Building consents

Our building officers assess all applications for land use consent. This ensures that if you are applying for a building consent as well as resource consent for your project, the resource consent can be issued first. 

In most cases no building work will be allowed to start until the resource consent has been obtained.

Building Consents

If your application doesn't include sufficient information, we will return it to you within ten working days of receiving it. 

If you lodge the application again with the required information, we will treat it as a new application.

If you or your agent don’t agree with the reasons for returning the application, either of you can formally object, in writing, within 15 working days of receiving the returned application.

If you are unhappy with the decision, or any part of it, you can object to it. However this is only the case if an application is non-notified or no submissions were received after it was notified. 

All objections must be made in writing within 15 working days of the decision being issued, explaining the reason for the objection. 

We must consider the objection within 20 working days, or in the case of an objection relating to processing fees, as soon as practicable.

You can surrender or cancel a consent if you no longer wish to undertake the activity it authorises.

We are required to give notice of acceptance before the surrender takes effect. 

You will be liable for:

  • any non-compliance with any consent conditions before surrender
  • any consent holder charges for the consent up to the time of its surrender.

If there are any incomplete works, we may direct you to complete them.

In most cases we charge an advance fee which is intended to cover most of the actual and reasonable costs associated with processing any application. There are some exceptions to this where the fee is fixed and no further charges will be incurred, such as a permitted boundary application. 

Where the costs exceed the advance fee, they will be invoiced once a decision on the application is issued. 

Additional costs may be invoiced where ongoing monitoring or compliance checking is required.

Our Schedule of Fees and Charges contain a breakdown of costs. 

If we engage an external consultant, their fees are added passed on to you.

Resource Management admin fee

Development contributions

We will assess your application for Development Contributions. When the Development Contributions assessment is complete we will send the signed decision, your development contributions assessment and an invoice for any additional charges, which may have been incurred, to the applicant or the agent as applicable.

Development Contributions Policy 

Our monitoring staff are notified of all approved land use consents and we are required to check on the activity's environmental effects to ensure that the consent is being used according to its limits and conditions. 

We may also undertake monitoring if a complaint is received that activity is affecting the environment.

To find out more about monitoring, please follow the link below.

Conditions and monitoring