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Regulation & Compliance

We work with the community to promote the sustainable management of natural physical resources. Our Regulatory Compliance Team monitors resource consents, checking activities comply with regional plan rules and using enforcement tools when conditions are breached. The team also provide technical advice around on contaminated land, waste, wastewater and industrial processes.

Our regulatory role

There are three key parts to our Regulatory Compliance work:

Compliance monitoring involves carrying out inspections to assess some or all conditions placed on resource consents. We use compliance to promote behaviour change and enable consent holders, and the wider community, to take ownership of resource management issues, and incorporate best practice which goes beyond the minimum requirements.

The Compliance Team uses both regulatory and non-regulatory tools and works with a range of teams across Council to achieve a coordinated approach.

Why we regulate

The Regional Council supports the sustainable development of the region by managing the effects of people's use of natural and physical resources. We also have a broader responsibility for the economic, social and cultural well-being of the community.

The Resource Management Act (RMA) sets out how we should manage our environment and forms the foundation for the majority of our work. Our Regulatory Compliance Team enforces the RMA and does so by monitoring resource consents, checking activities comply with regional plan rules and using enforcement tools when conditions are breached. The team also provide technical advice around on contaminated land, waste, wastewater and industrial processes.

To encourage compliance and penalise offences, the RMA provides local authorities with a range of enforcement mechanisms intended to be tailored to the severity and nature of the offence.

The Ministry for the Environment sets out ‘Best Practise Guidelines here.

The key enforcement mechanisms available to local authorities are:

• Infringement Notice
Infringement notices or fines are for relatively minor offences. They are issued by councils to make people more aware of their obligations under the RMA by imposing a fine – a bit like a traffic ticket. A separate infringement notice can be issued each day the offence is committed.
• Abatement Notice
An abatement notice requires people to take or stop actions so they comply with the RMA, a district or regional plan, or a resource consent. The recipient must address the problem in the most appropriate way within the time period set out in the notice or a prosecution could be taken.
• Enforcement Order
An Enforcement Order is issued by the Environment Court. They can direct people to:
They can direct people to:
- comply with a rule in a plan
- deal with the adverse environmental effects of their activities
- pay compensation for the costs of environmental clean up
- change or cancel a resource consent based on wrong information|
- restore a natural or physical resource that has been damaged.

Anyone can apply for an enforcement order. Councils tend to apply for them when they need to sort out more serious and ongoing problems than those covered by abatement notices.
• Prosecution
A prosecution occurs when a council takes someone to court. A council will lay charges under the RMA if the offending is significant enough and if it believes that punishing the offender will deter others. If the activity is sufficiently reckless and harmful, a council may choose to prosecute even someone who was cooperative after the offence was detected.

How we monitor compliance

Regulatory Compliance monitoring is largely driven through our Regulation Group which includes the Compliance and Harbour Master functions. The Compliance Team is made up of Environmental Compliance Officers, Environmental Pollution Response Officers and Compliance Coordinators based out of our Dalton Street Office in Napier.

Compliance monitoring involves carrying out inspections to assess some or all active conditions within resource consents. The frequency of site inspections for each activity is set in our 2018-28 Long Term Plan. The inspection frequency considers the type of activity and its environmental risk, but other factors are also considered for particular consents, such as the consent holder’s compliance history.

In addition to inspections, the team also undertakes desktop performance monitoring, which is the audit of incoming compliance returns from consent holders, such as test results, reports, records and monitoring data.

Compliance Report 2020-21

This summary gives Hawke’s Bay communities an overview of Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s environmental compliance, monitoring and
enforcement activities during 2020-21.

2021-21 Annual Compliance, Monitoring, and Enforcement Summary 

2020-21 Annual Compliance, Monitoring, and Enforcement full Report 

 Pollution responseEnforcementconsentsAbatements


Resource Consent Monitoring

We monitored 3,092 consents between 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021.

Nearly 61% of all consents monitored are  water takes for irrigation, cropping and other horticultural activities. The remainder of consents monitored were for land use activities or discharges to land, air and water. This period there was an increase in the number of consents graded moderately non-compliant, this was largely due to increased monitoring of bore security associated with watertake consents. A larger proportion of industrial and commercial consents achieved full compliance in this period compared to the last 5 years.

The following gradings were achieved:

  • 83.2% (2574) Full compliance
  • 4.8% (147) Low-risk non-compliance
  • 11.7% (347) Moderate non-compliance
  • 0.8% (24) Significant non-compliance

Pollution Response and Enforcement

The Regional Council operates a 24 hour, 7 days a week Pollution Hotline for the purpose of receiving calls from members of the public reporting pollution events and other environmental incidents. 823 incidents were responded to between July 2020 and June 2021 for odour, air quality, discharges to land, and discharges to water. This is the third consecutive year that our team has seen a 10% drop in the number of reported incidents. However, the number of serious incidents every year is increasing and resulting in continued high volume of enforcement action.

Enforcement action is taken for offences against the Resource Management Act, Regional Rules, or resource consents. The more serious the offence, the more serious the resulting action. This year Council enforcement staff:

  • Issued 86 infringement notices
  • Issued 66 abatement notices
  • Initiated 6 prosecutions
  • Completed 12 prosecutions, 6 of which were for air quality offences.

See the full report for explanation of compliance grades 


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