Every resource consent application must include an assessment of environmental effects (AEE) – because every activity has some effect on the environment.
These effects can be positive or negative and last for a short time or much longer. For example, redeveloping an old commercial area might produce a more pleasant shopping environment, while a new building might cause dust and noise during the construction phase, and loss of privacy for its neighbours and an increase in traffic in the long term.
An AEE describes all the environmental effects of your proposed activity, and the ways that any negative effects are to be mitigated (reduced). Depending on your proposed activity it can take a lot of time and effort to conduct your assessment and produce a report, so feel free to get in touch if you need help, information or advice.
Do it yourself or get a professional on board
If your proposal involves relatively minor works, such as residential additions and alterations, you may be comfortable completing the AEE template yourself (PDF 982 kb).
As a first step though, we recommend that you get in touch to arrange a pre-application meeting. We’ll work through your proposal and what you want to achieve, and provide you with information and advice on how to apply (included whether you need a building consent too).
learn about your obligations under the Resource Management Act 2014. Your resource consent – and your activities – must comply with its requirements
talk to our Eco Design Advisor. They offer free, independent advice on how to make homes warm, dry and healthy, and can give you some great tips on energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. You can make an appointment online, by email or by phone at 04 570 6666
If you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, or if your proposal could have significant effects on the environment, we recommend that you ask a professional – such as a resource management planner, an engineer or surveyor – to help you with all or some of the AEE preparation. Get in touch if you’d like some guidance on where to go.
The AEE preparation process
Here are the key steps involved in preparing an AEE. Note that consultation, if it’s required, can happen at any stage of steps 1-6.
Identify the activity or activities for which you’re seeking resource consent.
Conduct a site inspection.
Talk to us (we'll advise whether you need a resource consent from Greater Wellington Regional Council too).
Identify the effects of your proposal.
Rank and address the effects. (You might need expert advice for this step.)
If you have a complex proposal, arrange a pre-application meeting with us to make sure you have everything covered and identify any need for expert advice.
Re-evaluate your proposal. If you identify new activities that require resource consent, start this process again.
The information that you include in your AEE will depend on the significance of your activity’s environmental effects. You'll need to start by thinking:
whether your activity is likely to affect the site that you'll be using or developing, and the wider environment
what those effects will be on the surrounding ecosystems and natural resources (land, air and water). Examples include:
changes to the character of the street or the surrounding landscape
modification and/or destruction of historic or cultural sites
effects on water quality
loss of privacy
loss of recreational values
whether those effects are:
positive or negative
temporary or permanent
past, present or future
cumulative (building up over time or in combination with other effects)
highly probable, or unlikely but with high impacts
the effects’ significance in scale, intensity, duration and frequency – and which effects are the most significant
how you’ll mitigate (reduce) the significant effects.
You'll need to be prepared to change your proposal, or find other ways to achieve your goals while delivering a proposal that meets our requirements.
What to include
The information you provide in your AEE should reflect the scale and significance of the effects, and provide us with everything we need to evaluable your proposal.
As a general guide, your AEE should include:
a full description of your proposal, including the site and locality, a site plan drawn to scale, and other plans such as elevations of new buildings
a description of the possible environmental effects, including their nature and significance
a description of ways in which the adverse environmental effects can be mitigated
an assessment of any potential risks to the environment of hazardous substances and/or the discharge of contaminants
the names of the people and organisations affected by your proposal
a record of any consultation you’ve undertaken
a discussion of any effects that may need to be controlled or monitored, and how and by whom this will be done.
The importance of quality
It’s important that you provide a full and accurate AEE for your proposal. If it doesn’t cover everything that we need to make a decision:
you might have to make changes to your proposal
your application processing costs will increase
your application will be put on hold while we seek more information (you must provide the information, or write to us agreeing or refusing to provide the information, within 15 working days of the date of our request)