The RMA Quality Planning Resource

Environmental results expected (EREs) are the results or outcomes expected from the combined effect of objectives, policies, rules and other methods contained in policy statements or plans.

EREs provide an indication to the plan reader about the likely outcomes of the provisions contained in the plan. They link directly to plan monitoring and provide indicators to measure the effectiveness and success of the plan.

The inclusion of EREs in plans is at the discretion of a council (ss67(2) and 75(2))  They are mandatory in regional policy statements (s62(1)(g)).

EREs could be included in plans:

  • when a combined planning document is prepared
  • when there is a desire to highlight or emphasise to plan users the likely outcomes of the plan provisions and not all likely outcomes can be recognised through reading the objectives
  • where an ERE represents a staged outcome on the way to achieving the longer-term objective (i.e. the objective is not achievable within the life of the plan)
  • to provide a clear link from the plan to the s35 plan effectiveness monitoring report

Good practice in drafting EREs

EREs should:

  • be linked to the provisions of the plan, and in particular the objectives
  • be measurable: there should be an ability to establish whether or not the result has been achieved or the expected change has occurred
  • focus on what is expected or observed over the life of the plan or policy statement provisions to which the ERE relates
  • also relate those outcomes that are incidental to the primary objective or that may occur as a side effect of implementing the policies, rules and other methods. Note that these outcomes could be positive or negative.

An ERE should not:

  • repeat the objectives of the plan (but they should be able to demonstrate what should happen if the objective is achieved)
  • focus on administrative or process outcomes (e.g. "resource consents are able to be processed faster")
  • be vague or express generalised expectations (e.g. "minimisation of the cumulative effects of discharges to air").

District plan examples

  • The maintenance or enhancement of the distinctive landscape character of the Whatsup District rural zone as measured by density of dwellings, average lot size, retention of identified landmarks and the area of vegetation (see objective 9.3).
  • There is no accidental contamination of, or damage to, sites adjoining newly established hazardous facilities located in the Commercial B Zone (see objective 7.5).
  • New reserves of at least 20 metres in width are provided along areas of coast to act as a buffer against erosion and to maintain or enhance public access when land adjoining the coast is subdivided (see objective 10.3).

Regional plan examples

  • There is no increase in residual contaminant levels on privately owned land in the Erehwon Region. (refer to objective 3.3).
  • There is no net loss in the area of indigenous forest on Class VIe and VIIe and VIII privately-owned land in the Waipopo hill country (refer to objective 7.2).
  • The structural integrity of Papakowhai plain aquifers is maintained and there is no significant continuing long-term decline in mean annual groundwater levels (see objective 8.7)