On 5 January 2023, changes to the Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 (NES-FW) were introduced to create new consenting pathways for quarrying activities within or in proximity to natural inland wetlands. These changes mean that the non-complying rules around quarrying activities within or in proximity to natural inland wetlands no longer have such a wide application.
This consenting pathway is provided under new Regulation 45A.
Under the Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 (NES-FW) quarrying activities has the meaning given by the National Planning Standards 2019, this definition is set out below:
Quarrying activities: means the extraction, processing (including crushing, screening, washing, and blending), transport, storage, sale and recycling of aggregates (clay, silt, rock, sand), the deposition of overburden material, rehabilitation, landscaping and cleanfilling of the quarry, and the use of land and accessory buildings for offices, workshops and car parking areas associated with the operation of the quarry.
The National Planning Standards 2019, also provides a definition of a quarry. This definition is set out below:
Quarry: means a location or area used for the permanent removal and extraction of aggregates (clay, silt, rock or sand). It includes the area of aggregate resource and surrounding land associated with the operation of a quarry and which is used for quarrying activities.
Where the following activities are for the purpose of quarrying activities, these activities are now discretionary activities under new Regulation 45A:
- Vegetation clearance within, or within a 10 m of a natural inland wetland,
- Earthworks or land disturbance within, or within a 10 m of a natural inland wetland
- Earthworks or land disturbance outside a 10 m, but within a 100 of a natural inland wetland which may cause the complete or partial drainage of all or part of the wetland
- The taking, use, damming or diversion of water within, or within a 100 m setback of a natural inland wetland (where there is a hydrological connection to the wetland and it will change the hydrological function of the wetland)
- The discharge of water into water within, or within a 100 m setback of a natural inland wetland (where there is a hydrological connection to the wetland and it will change the hydrological function of the wetland and the discharge will enter the wetland)
Regulation 45A requires that certain conditions must be met in order for a Consent Authority to grant a resource consent. These conditions these are:
- that the quarrying activity will provide significant national or regional benefits; and
- that there is a functional need for the quarrying activity in that location; and
- and that the effects management hierarchy has been applied to the activity.
Functional need has the meaning given by the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. This definition is provided below:
Functional need: means the need for a proposal or activity to traverse, locate or operate in a particular environment because the activity can only occur in that environment.
For further information about what is a functional need, please see our advice note on this topic linked here.
Effects management hierarchy has the meaning given by the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. This definition is provided below:
Effects management hierarchy: in relation to natural inland wetlands and rivers, means an approach to managing the adverse effects of an activity on the extent or values of a wetland or river (including cumulative effects and loss of potential value) that requires that:
- adverse effects are avoided where practicable; then
- where adverse effects cannot be avoided, they are minimised where practicable; then
- where adverse effects cannot be minimised, they are remedied where practicable; then
- where more than minor residual adverse effects cannot be avoided, minimised, or remedied, aquatic offsetting is provided where possible; then
- if aquatic offsetting of more than minor residual adverse effects is not possible, aquatic compensation is provided; then
- if aquatic compensation is not appropriate, the activity itself is avoided
An effects management hierarchy that provides a well-reasoned explanation supported with evidence, such as maps, aerial photos and technical advice from a suitably qualified person, demonstrating how each step of the hierarchy is meet, must be provided with your application.
Applications for resource consent under Regulation 45A must include all the information required in the conditions in order to be accepted by us to be processed.
If you would like more information about the new rules, or if you would like us to review your draft application before you submit it for processing, please call 0800 474 082 or email email@example.com to arrange to receive some pre-application advice.