When a Decision is Made

Notification of decision 

When a territorial authority has received the decision of a requiring authority, or made a decision on its own notice of requirement, it must notify the decision as follows: 

  • the territorial authority must serve a copy of the decision on all submitters within 15 working days of the territorial authority making its decision and 
  • serve notice on any directly affected land owners or occupiers.  

Alternatively, the territorial authority can give notice that provides a summary of the decision (for example if the decision is lengthy) and also state where copies of the decision are available for inspection (which may be electronically and/or physically). The decision should be provided within three working days of receipt of a request for provision of a copy. 

The notice must include a statement of the time within which an appeal against the decision may be lodged which is 15 working days after the date on which the notice of the decision is given. 


The territorial authority or any submitter may lodge an appeal of the requiring authority’s decision to the Environment Court (s174). For a new designation to an operative plan, this must be done within 15 working days of when the decision was served. For a designation that is included in a proposed plan, this must be done within 30 working days of when the decision was sent out. 

Practice has demonstrated that good relationships between territorial authorities and requiring authorities are key to reducing misunderstandings and the potential for appeals. Discussions between territorial authorities and requiring authorities, and/or with submitters, following release of the territorial authority’s recommendation are beneficial.  

Updating the plan 

A territorial authority must update its district plan to include the designation once the time for appealing a requiring authority’s decision has passed without appeal, or any appeal has been withdrawn by the territorial authority, or dismissed or resolved by the Environment Court. 

The national planning standards (planning standards) determine how designations must be contained in plans in standard 9.Designations Standard. Designations are to be included in district plans in Part 3 (area specific matters) under a designation heading, and in combined plans in Part 4 (area specific matters) under a designation heading (for combined regional policy statement, regional plan and district plan). Standard 9 requires that each Requiring Authority must be a separate chapter under the Designations heading, listed alphabetically, and a unique identifier used (refer to table 15 of the planning standards). Standard 9 also includes a designation table that must be used for each designation with information fields that must be filled out, including designation purpose, site identifier, and lapse date. Conditions on designations may be free form text below the relevant table, in an appendix to the designations chapter or as a link to an external document. For more information, see the planning standards webpage.  

If the requirement was part of a proposed plan and after the council has made decisions on the plan as a whole, the proposed plan is typically updated and reprinted (unless it is an ePlan). The timing of the requiring authority decision-making processes can mean that it may not be possible to include all the decisions on designations when the plan is first updated  with decisions. However, given that decisions on plan appeals will most likely require further updates to the plan, decisions on requirements will be able to be included in further updates. 

Councils should discuss time frames and processes with requiring authorities so they are aware of how their decision fits in with the rest of the plan process, and they have a clear understanding about printing deadlines.