Under section 36 of the Resource Management Act, regional councils can set charges to help recover the reasonable costs incurred in carrying out their resource management functions.
Waikato Regional Council’s resource consent charging system is based on the principle of ‘user pays’. This means that if your activity requires consent then it is fair that you contribute towards the cost of assessing and monitoring the consent and for maintaining records relating to that activity.
When you apply for your resource consent, you will need to pay any costs involved in assessing and processing your application. These costs will be charged whether your application is granted or declined. Some types of applications have a standard, flat fee but most applications are charged on an "actual costs" basis. In those cases, we ask for a non-refundable deposit before we begin processing your resource consent application, and after an initial evaluation of your consent application, we will send you a letter indicating the likely full costs of processing your application. These costs will vary depending on the potential environmental impacts of your activity and the amount of staff time required to process and assess your consent.
Our costs are determined using the formula:
Charge = (staff time X charge rate) + direct costs including disbursements + notification + hearing costs
Typically, each month we will send you an invoice for costs incurred during the previous month. At the end of the process, a final invoice for the last of the costs will be posted to you along with the council’s decision on the application. Your initial deposit will be deducted from this final invoice.
You can help reduce the costs involved in processing your application by:
You should consider getting professional advice from an environmental consultant if your proposed activity is large, complex, may significantly affect the environment or attract significant public interest.
As a consent holder, you may need to pay an associated annual charge. Annual consent holder charges vary depending on the scale of the activity. Annual charges pay for a portion of Waikato Regional Council's environmental information and data gathering, as well as a uniform charge to contribute towards the administrative costs associated with running the consent processing business (for example, maintaining consent systems, records, managing consent life-cycle processes etc.)
You’ll need to pay this charge from the time your consent is granted until your consent either expires or you have surrendered it. You are required to pay annual charges even if you are not physically exercising your consent. This reflects the fact that many of the matter that these charges go toward funding are not dependent upon the consent being exercised. Having said that, there are circumstances where a remission of charges may be available for some consent holders (e.g. where, due to circumstances beyond the consent holder's control, the consent cannot be exercised). A remission must be sought in writing. Whole or part-remissions of charges are approved entirely at the Council's discretion.
We may monitor your activity to make sure you are complying with your consent conditions. You will be charged to cover staff time and material costs associated with this monitoring, such as:
The need for monitoring and monitoring frequency will vary depending on your consent activity. For example, an activity such as an air discharge has the potential to significantly affect people or the environment, so it may be monitored several times a year. Activities such as small dams or minor water takes may only be monitored once every year or less.
We will also check out any complaints or reports of non-compliance we may receive about your activity. If the complaint is justified, you’ll be charged for the travel, inspection and administration costs involved with our investigation.
Our costs are determined using the formula:
Charge = (staff time X charge rate) + direct costs including disbursements.
We will charge for staff time and material costs when providing resource consent information, documents and technical advice (including advice as to whether a consent is required for a particular activity).
The first half-hour of staff time involved in providing this information and advice will not be charged, after which the total staff time spent in providing the information will be charged.
If you disagree with our charges in general, you should write to us about it (external link) . These charges are reviewed every year as part of our annual planning process, and anyone is allowed to make a submission on our charging decisions. The time to do this is usually about March or April each year, when the plan is open for public scrutiny.
If you feel that your consent specifically has been incorrectly or unfairly charged, you may write in and formally request a review of your charge. You need to provide us with a valid reason as to why your charge should be adjusted and we will consider your case.
View or download our information factsheet on application and consent costs: Your Guide - Resource Consent Charges