Pursuant to Section 88 of the RMA every resource consent application must include an assessment of environmental effects (AEE). An AEE is a statement about the effects a proposed activity may have on the environment.
Every activity has some effect on the environment. These effects can be positive or negative. For example, the redevelopment of an old commercial area might produce a more pleasant shopping environment. However the new buildings for the development may cause loss of privacy for its neighbours and/or an increase in traffic.
An AEE describes all the effects of the activity on the environment and the ways any negative effects are to be avoided, remedied or mitigated. AEE’s for minor breaches are not expected to be comprehensive, particularly if you are preparing it yourself, but still needs to contain the relevant information needed for planners to make a decision.
Positive or negative;
Temporary or permanent;
Past, present or future;
Cumulative (arising over time or in combination with other effects);
The definition of ‘effects’ in the RMA includes any effects, regardless of scale, intensity, duration or frequency;
Excludes trade competition effects.
The amount of information you need to include in the AEE will depend on how significant the effects will be. In addition to drawings, a certificate of title and the correct form and fee, you must provide at least:
A description of the proposal;
A description of the site and locality;
A description of the actual and potential environmental effects;
Where these effects are likely to be significant, a description of available alternatives;
A description of the ways in which adverse effects can be avoided, remedied or mitigated;
A record of your consultation with neighbours and any other affected persons;
A discussion of any monitoring that may be required to control a certain effect.
Taking the time to prepare an AEE will save you time and frustration later.
Depending on the scale of the activity you may wish to obtain assistance from a consultant to prepare your application.
Remember that any application needing resource consent will have some environmental effects. Council will not accept an AEE that says there are no environmental effects from the activity.
Think about what you are proposing to do and how it will change the site. To help you prepare your AEE you can talk to our planners to determine which parts of the District Plan are relevant to your application and the activity status of your proposal.
For example, for ‘controlled’ and ‘restricted discretionary activities’ your AEE only needs to address the matters identified in the District Plan while for ‘discretionary’ and ‘non-complying’ activities your AEE will need to address all of the potential environmental effects resulting from the proposal.
The term ‘environment’ includes:
Ecosystems and their constituent parts, including people and communities;
All natural and physical resources;
Economic and social impacts, excluding trade competition matters.
Some examples of environmental effects include:
Changes to the character of the street or the surrounding landscape;
Modification and/or destruction of historical or cultural sites;
Loss of privacy, sunlight and outlook;
Visual impact and amenity;
Loss of recreational values.
You should also address the duration of the effects. For example the construction of a building may result in temporary, permanent or cumulative effects.