The RMA Quality Planning Resource

Section 168 of the RMA provides for a requiring authority to give notice to the relevant territorial authority of its requirement for a designation.  Under s168A, a territorial authority may give notice of a requirement for a designation for works it wants to undertake within its own district.

Form 18 of the Resource Management Forms, Fees and Procedure Regulations 2003, prescribes the content of a notice of requirement under ss168 and 168A. This includes the following information:

  • the reasons why the designation or alteration is needed to achieve the objectives of the requiring authority
  • the physical and legal descriptions (noting any distinguishing characteristics) of the site
  • the nature of the work, and any proposed restrictions
  • the effect that the proposed work will have on the environment, and the proposed mitigation measures
  • the extent to which alternative sites, routes and methods have been considered
  • the associated resource consents which will be required, and those that have been applied for
  • the extent of consultation undertaken with parties likely to be affected by the designation, including the reasons why, if no consultation is undertaken
  • additional information (if any) as required by regional or district plans or regulations. 

When preparing a notice of requirement, the requiring authority should address all matters in ss168A and 171 of the RMA that the territorial authority is required to consider when making a recommendation. This will ensure the relevant matters have been adequately included in the notice of requirement from the outset. 

Form 18 relating to a notice of requirement does not require an Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE) in accordance with the Fourth Schedule but this is common practice for notice of requirements to provide a similar assessment.  If an AEE is included, it should also provide information to address the matters under ss168A and 171. 

Although Form 18 requires the inclusion of details of any consultation undertaken, the requiring authority has no duty to consult (s36A). However, in many situations consultation should be carried out with affected parties and this is generally accepted as good practice.  The first opportunity for formal public comment is if the notice of requirement is notified by the territorial authority. 

Pre-lodgement meetings between the territorial authority (or the Environmental Protection Authority) and the requiring authority are often useful to:

  • provide an understanding of the scope and scale of the requirement
  • determine the level and scope of information required to avoid the need for further information requests
  • understand notification requirements
  • outline consultation process timetable expectations
  • identify the potential for any joint processes or procedures including hearings. 

It is also useful to provide the required information in electronic format which is compatible with council software, particularly for maps of the designated land.  This makes incorporating designation boundaries into planning maps much easier.  It also assists understanding of the notice of requirement when it is publicly notified.