State of the Environment Monitoring

This note has been updated for 2017 and 2020 amendments but not updated for best practice. 

State of the environment (SOE) monitoring and reporting can provide early warning of environmental problems and illustrate where environmental management has been effective.

It allows councils and communities to access information on the state or condition of the environment and key environmental pressures, and to assess possible and actual responses.

State of the environment monitoring informs decision-making by helping determine the need for further action, and by indicating broadly where policies and actions can be improved or may need review.

Section 35(2)(a) of the Resource Management Act (RMA) requires local authorities to monitor the state of the whole or any part of the environment to the extent that is appropriate to enable the local authority to effectively carry out its functions under the RMA. Monitoring must also reference any indicators or other matters prescribed by regulation. 

An integrated approach to monitoring under both the Local Government Act 2002 (LGA) and the RMA is important and is discussed further in this guidance material.