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The process

Resource Consents are issued under the Resource Management Act 1991. There is a set process, with set timeframes that Councils need to follow. You can see a summary of the application process here (mobile friendly version is avaialable here) or in more detail below. You can find out about how long it takes to process a consent here.


Step 1 - Pre-application

The process for getting consent will be easier if you know how the RMA affects your project and what you need to do to have your consent approved. Before making an application for resource consent, careful consideration needs to be given to what an application should contain. Before you start to fill out the correct application form for your activity:

  • Flesh out your idea
  • Look into what rules might affect your project
  • We recommend you talk to anyone who may be adversely affected by your proposed project or who may have an interest in the environment in general.

This will save you time and money in the long run. 

Step 2 - Checking in with Council 

We offer pre-application guidance for projects that need resource consent. We provide you with information and guidance to ensure you have a good understanding of what needs to be done, before you submit your application. 

Meeting with us before you apply for your resource consent will:

  • Provide an overview of the Resource Management Act 1991
  • Help you understand relevant planning rules
  • Confirm and identify what type of consents you may need
  • Help identify what information needs to be included in the consent application, such as environmental assessments, data analysis and cultural impacts
  • Explain how the process works, including potential costs and times
  • Identify and provide contact details for tāngata whenua who may be affected by your application
  • Identify other individuals or groups that may also be affected
  • Explain which situations determine if your application is publicly or limited notified

Check out this pre-meeting checklist. When you’re ready call 0800 884 881 extn 9090 or email to arrange a meeting with our Duty Consents Officer.   

Step 3 – Consultation

Consultation with your neighbours, tāngata whenua, users of the same water source, or interest groups such as the Department of Conservation or Fish & Game, may be required before we can make a decision on a resource consent. Consultation will generally help smooth the processing of a resource consent application. Time spent on consultation before your application is lodged can mean considerable savings by avoiding lengthy and costly pre-hearings, hearings and appeals.

We're happy to provide guidance on who you might need to approach and give you appropriate contacts.

We go into more detail about the importance of consultation and who you might need to consult with here.  

Step 4 - Preparing your application

The clearer you describe in your consent applciation what you want to do and where you want to do it, the easier the process of lodging an application will be. There are specific application forms for each activity and you will need to use the correct application form in order for it to be processed. The application form will ask you too:

Describe the activity

You must provide clear details of what you want to do and where. The more information you are able to provide, the better understanding we will have of your proposal. In particular, we require a map clearly showing the location of proposed works and a legal description of the site. If you need help supplying a site map of your property we have a few mapping tools that might come in handy.

Describe the environment

We need to know where your proposed activity is related, in relation to nearby features.

  • What is the distance to any significant environmental, historic or cultural sites?

Research regional plans and rules

In general, for a new consent, you will need to: 

Provide an environmental assessment

Your Assessment of Actual and Potential Effects on the Environment (AEE) will need to include:

  • Identification of any affected parties and evidence of any consultation
  • Effects on the environment
  • Possible ways of avoiding, remedying or reducing any adverse effect identified
  • Possible alternatives to the proposal
  • Positive effects.

Assessing cultural effects

The Regional Council’s Regional Policy Statement (RPS) is clear that it is good practice to consult with tangata whenua in relation to your consent application. As per the policies within the RPS, consent applications that are lodged with a cultural effects assessment should have input by tangata whenua to help identify any actual and/or potential cultural effects.

To assist you in this the Regional Council can provide a list of tangata whenua and their contact details who have registered an interest in the site of your activity so that you can undertake the assessment. Regional Council can also provide other information e.g. access to iwi and hapū management plans, details about identified archaeological sites and details of any Statutory Acknowledgements relevant to the site.

Click here to learn more about assessing cultural effects

Once you feel your application is ready, please submit it with the initial payment via email, post or in person. After you have lodged your application, we have 10 working days to let you know if you have given us enough information to proceed to the next step.

Step 5 - Notification

When a resource consent application is received by the council, we conduct an assessment of its environmental effects. If the environmental effects are more than minor, the resource consent will require public notification under Section 95A of the Resource Management Act.

Only some consent applications are notified. Your application may not be notified if we are satisfied that your activity will have only minor effects on the environment and all potentially affected parties have provided written approval. Your application will be processed faster and cost less if you gain approval from all parties that may be affected by your proposal. 

There are two forms of notification, Limited Notified and (publicly or fully) Notified. 

Limited notified

Limited notification applies when the effects of your activity are considered to be generally minor but you have not obtained written approval from potentially affected parties. Bay of Plenty Regional Council will send a letter to all potentially affected parties advising them of your application and any activities or likely effects associated with your proposal which may arise if your proposal was granted. Those identified parties can then make a submission on the proposal. If submissions and/or issues can't be resolved then the application will need to go to hearing.


Full Notification occurs when we believe the effects of your activity will be more than minor. A notice will be placed on our website, in the public notices section of the local newspaper where your proposed activity will happen and a sign will be placed at the site (or the nearest public access point to the site) of the proposed activity.

The notice and sign will say who the applicant is, what consents they have applied for and where they propose to carry out the activity

Additionally, Bay of Plenty Regional Council will send a letter to all potentially affected parties advising them directly of your application. 

At the close of submissions, the application may go to a pre-hearing meeting or a hearing to determine the application.  If no submissions are received the consent may not need a hearing and the consent can be processed and the decision issued.      

Current public notifications