The notification process

To process consents, we first decide if the application needs to be notified or not.

Notification ensures that those who may be affected by the activity are given the opportunity to put forward their view. Applications may be non-notified, limited notified or fully notified.

A resource consent application will be notified unless:

  • a relevant Regional Plan states that the application may be considered without notification; or
  • we are satisfied that:
    • the adverse environment effects of the activity will be minor and
    • all requested information has been received
    • written approval has been obtained from every person who, in the opinion of the consent authority, may be adversely affected by the granting of consent
    • special circumstances apply

Assessing the adverse environmental effects

In assessing whether or not the activity's adverse environmental effects will be minor, we consider the following:

  • the nature, scale and site of the activity
  • the sensitivity of the environment (e.g. the size of the resource, ecological effects, proximity of neighbours or special areas)
  • long-term or permanent effects (e.g. structures, contamination)
  • off-site effects (e.g. pollution downstream or downwind)
  • cumulative effects (e.g. where several people take water from the same stream)
  • social and cultural effects (including Māori, historical and other issues)
  • the comments of people consulted by the applicant
  • risks (prospects of problems and consequences)
  • mitigation (e.g. erosion control works, emission controls, safety measures).

Key consultations

The following persons will generally be considered adversely affected and may be required to give approval of any application that is not notified:

  • landowners or occupiers of the site
  • iwi or groups which have a cultural relationship with the environment
  • individual(s) undertaking existing lawful uses of a resource which will be affected by the proposed activity (e.g. neighbours, downstream landowners)
  • individual(s) or organisations with statutory responsibility for some aspect of a resource that may be affected (e.g. Department of Conservation, Fish and Game Council).

Read more about consultations

If your application is notified

The aim of notification is to ensure that everyone is given an opportunity to make a submission. The following people and agencies will be notified as considered appropriate:

  • owners and/or occupiers of the land adjacent landowners/occupiers likely to be affected
  • the appropriate territorial authority
  • Iwi - for discharges of human waste into water, possible disturbance of waahi tapu (e.g., burial grounds or old pa sites) and all forms of environmental pollution
  • Fish and Game Council - for discharges into water, structures or works in riverbeds and the taking of water which may affect fish passage or habitats
  • Department of Conservation - for activities in the coastal marine area or other areas where the Department has statutory responsibility
  • Ministry of Transport - for major structures in navigable waters
  • Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga - for possible disturbance to archaeological sites
  • • Ministry of Primary Industries - for marine farming.
  • Notice of resource consent applications will be served on all parties that the Otago Regional Council considers will be affected. The application will be publicly notified in appropriate newspapers and a public notice placed on the site where the proposed activity will occur. This notice will call for submissions within 20 working days. If submissions are received, a hearing may be held. 

Click here for more information on the process for notified and limited notification applications

Read more about hearings


Limited notification FAQs

Limited notification is a process available only for an application that we decide is non-notified (the adverse effects of the activity on the environment will be minor), and written approvals from affected parties are required and can’t be obtained.

When your application is received, we assess your application and if it is non-notified, identifies people or organisations potentially affected by your proposed activity. This means their written approval for your activity is needed for your application to go ahead under non-notified consent procedures. Either you can get this written approval before putting in your application, or ORC will direct you to the parties who need to provide their written approval.

If you can’t get written approvals from affected parties, we can limited notify your resource consent application. This prevents your application being held up by delays caused by affected parties taking too much time to approve or refuse to approve your application.

The request to process your application as limited notification can be made by you, either at the time of putting in your application or when a reasonable time has passed and approvals aren’t received. Your request must be in writing and signed by either yourself or your consultant.

However, we have an obligation under section 21 of the Resource Management Act to avoid unreasonable delay in processing applications. If a reasonable time has passed and written approvals haven’t been obtained, we can decide to process your application by limited notification. This ORC decision wouldn’t be taken without consultation with you.

Limited notification involves ORC serving your application on any affected parties who have not already given their written approval. There’s no public notice in the newspaper and no site notice put up beside your proposed activity, as there would be if your application was publicly notified.

The notified parties are given 20 working days to make a submission on your application. If no submissions are received or submissions are in support or neutral and parties do not wish to be heard, your application is decided by our staff consent panel.

If we receive any submissions in opposition or parties that wish to be heard, then the application will need to go to a hearing and the decision will be made by the hearing panel. This panel comprises elected members of ORC. The panel has 15 working days to release its decision after the hearing has closed. If a hearing is needed, the cost of processing the application will increase, but the time frame to process your consent will be reduced.

In either situation, at the end of the decision-making process all parties are given a copy of the decision and have 15 working days to appeal. If there are no appeals, the final consent is issued.


Non-notified applications

Non-notified applications are generally quicker and cheaper to process. We will use this procedure where appropriate, but there is an obligation to give interested parties the chance to have their say where there may be significant effects on those parties or the environment.

Click here for more information on the process for non-notified applications

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