Media release

New fund to support environmental enhancement projects

Thursday 1 July 2021

$50,000 per year is available to help community and catchment groups with resource consent processing fees as part of a new fund introduced through the Long-term Plan.

The new fund aims to reduce the barriers for Otago groups to advance projects that enhance our environment.

General Manager Regulatory Richard Saunders said the initiative arose following feedback on the Long-term Plan 2021-31.

“Several submissions raised the issue of consent processing fees being a barrier for groups wanting to undertake projects that enhance Otago’s environment. Based on this feedback, Councillors requested that staff develop a policy that would enable ORC to support these kinds of projects by funding consent processing costs.

“I’m really pleased that we were able to turn this policy around in time for the funding to be available from 1 July.”

Under the new policy, a maximum of $10,000 per project will be available to cover consent processing fees for projects that meet certain criteria.

“One of the requirements we’ve introduced as part of the policy is that anyone seeking processing fees support must have a pre-application meeting with a member of our consents team to discuss the application,” Mr Saunders said.

To be eligible for funding, applicants must be able to demonstrate that their project will provide an environmental benefit or service and is not intended for private commercial gain, among other criteria.

The $50,000 available through this policy is in addition to the ECO Fund support, which Councillors increased through the Long-term Plan to $290,000 per year.

“The ECO Fund supports implementation of the same kinds of projects, but can’t be accessed for resource consent processing costs,” Mr Saunders said, “So this will complement ORC’s existing support for community projects that benefit the environment.”

To learn more about the consent processing support, visit, and to learn more about the ECO Fund, visit