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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.

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