Before you apply for a consent, it's important to understand when and why you may need one. 

Under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) the Otago Regional Council creates rules to regulate activities like taking water from a stream, modifying the beds or rivers and lakes and outdoor burning. The RMA focuses on using our resources sustainably, and encouraging individuals and communities to think about the impact on their environment while they meet their social, economic, and cultural needs.

Any organisation or person who wants to do an activity that affects the environment in some way likely needs a consent. Our rules aim to prevent harm to our communities, and to protect our air, water, soil and ecosystems – in this way we build a future for generations to thrive.

Some activities may require resource consents from your local district council as well as the regional council. If this applies to you, you can put in your applications to both councils at the same time.
If you would like more information about the rules and how they might affect you, please call 0800 474 082 or email

Pre-application meetings

Pre-application meetings provide an opportunity for us to help you understand what consents might be needed and for you to chat about your proposal with council staff before applying for resource consent. Processing an application is generally simpler, quicker and less costly if the applicant has already sought the council's advice on the relevant plan provisions and information requirements before making an application.

It doesn't matter if you have already started

If you have already started your resource consent application or know that you’ll need resource consent and would like us to review your draft, then we can do that too. You can book a pre-application meeting to sit down and chat about your proposal and/or send in your plans and draft application for us to provide feedback on. It will save you time in the long run! 

How much are pre-application meetings and how long does it take?

Thirty (30) minutes of work carried out by the Consents Planner is free of charge. The remaining work is charged at the relevant officer's hourly rate in accordance with the fees and charges schedule.

The costs related to this service include, but are not limited to:

  • administration
  • research
  • meeting time
  • taking minutes
  • distribution of meeting notes
  • question follow ups
  • follow up advice

An overall pre-application service typically requires 2-4 hours to complete.

It is useful to provide any documents or plans alongside your pre-application form to assist the Consents Planner with their preparation.

To book a pre-application meeting, fill in the "Request for Pre-Application Advice Form" and email it to: 

Activities that require resource consents 

Activities where resource consents are not required

Some activities are allowed under Regional Plans and National Environmental Standards. If your activity is one of these, you won’t need a resource consent. There are criteria for these activities to ensure that the environment is protected.

You do not need a resource consent to take fresh water for your reasonable domestic fresh water needs, for stock or for firefighting, as long as these activities have no adverse environmental effects.

Certificate of Compliance

If you would like proof from us to say that your activity doesn't need consent, you can apply for a ‘Certificate of Compliance'.

What is a Certificate of Compliance?

A Certificate of Compliance is formal confirmation that an activity is permitted under our rules and plans and/or regulations in a National Environmental Standard. You will not need resource consent if you have a Certificate of Compliance for your activity.

A Certificate of Compliance is not mandatory but can be useful for insurance purposes or to provide certainty.

Anyone can apply for a Certificate of Compliance, and it is up to you to provide us with evidence that you meet the rules. We may need a little more information, but we will let you know if that is the case.

What happens if I change my plans after I get a Certificate of Compliance?

If the activity changes after you are issued with a Certificate of Compliance, then it is unlikely you will have protection under the original approval, and you should come back to us.

Applying for a Certificate of Compliance

To apply for a Certificate of Compliance, you will need to complete the application for a certificate of compliance:

Your application must include:

  • A full description of the proposal and the site where the activity will be undertaken
  • A clear explanation of how the activity/proposal meets all the relevant provisions of the regional plan, and any relevant national environmental standard. You may choose to present this information as a table listing each provision and showing how the activity/proposal complies
  • Copies of all necessary plans, details and calculations to enable the proposal to be checked for compliance with the regional plan.

Once completed, this application can be emailed to:


The application involves a deposit of $2000 which should be paid when you submit your application. This deposit is not likely to cover the full processing costs and you will receive an invoice. Information on how to pay this deposit can be found here.

Time frame

Council has 20 working days to process an application for a Certificate of Compliance.