Consents involving hazard mitigation should be monitored to ensure adequate construction and maintenance and that measures are proving effective. Where hazard mitigation works are proven to be ineffective in managing the risk then the resource consent should be reviewed.
It is important that information from development applications that reveal the presence of hazards is recorded, even if the risk is avoided or mitigated through engineering works. This provides valuable information later on if assumptions made at the time prove to be wrong and the issue needs to be revisited.
Section 35 of the RMA requires local authorities to monitor: the state of the environment; the efficiency and effectiveness of policies, rules or other methods; and a range of other matters set out in s35(2). This includes gathering information, monitoring and keeping records for natural hazards. Local authorities also need to keep records of natural hazards as per s35(5)(j) of the Act.
Hazard objectives in resource management plans should be written in such a way that enables progress towards them to be measured. There are a number of ways that councils can monitor the effectiveness of natural hazard provisions in their plans.
Councils may need to revise the provisions in their plans when:
- monitoring indicates that the provisions in a plan are not reducing natural hazard risk
- new information becomes available, altering the level of acceptable risk
- advances in scientific information and technology create new data.
Regional and district plan reviews are good opportunities to consider new information and data relating to natural hazards. A programme of consultation should accompany any changes to hazard information gained by the council. This ensures that communities are aware of the hazards that they face.
Monitoring plan effectiveness
Plan effectiveness can be monitored by examining the:
- number of structures being built on at-risk land
- type of structures being built (construction and use)
- amount of land subject to hazards being set aside/purchased
- level of awareness of the community and their acceptance of risk-based plan provisions.