Examples of Improved Conditions

The following table consists of examples from actual consents that have been granted by various councils, an explanation of the reason why the condition wording needs changing and suggestions how the wording could be improved to be consistent with good practice.

Original condition

Issue explanation

Better condition

“The consent holder must submit a detailed set of engineering plans prepared in accordance with council’s Environmental Engineering Standards. The engineering plans are to be submitted to the Senior Environmental Engineering Officer for approval.”

  1. Purports to give secondary approval or arbitration power to a council officer.
  2. Council’s engineering standards need to be more specific to provide certainty (ie, specific reference to a dated document).

Prior to works commencing the consent holder shall submit a certificate signed by a chartered professional engineer, CPEng, to the Senior Environmental Engineering Officer certifying that the engineering plans have been prepared in accordance with Council’s Environmental Engineering Standards version XYZ dated July 2008, attached to this consent.

“The development shall proceed in accordance with the plans and information submitted with the application, and entered into council records as RMAXYZ/1-5.”

Doesn’t specifically reference the plan and/or specification requirements, further information or amended plans submitted subsequent to the lodgement of the application. All relevant requirements should ideally be attached as part of the consent or if this is not practicable the relevant plans/specifications should be stamped and referenced via a condition.

The development shall proceed in accordance with the information submitted with the application on (date), the further information regarding ABC dated XYZ, and the amended plan entitled “Revised Site Plan (No. 1234/5 Rev B) dated ABC, except where another condition of this consent must be complied with. This information is entered into council records as RMAXYZ/1-5.

“The consent holder should not use machinery in flowing water.”

“Should” is not mandatory: “must” or “shall” need to be used.
Specifying “consent holder” is generally not necessary.

Machinery shall not be used in flowing water.

“The installation of the bore shall be carried out in accordance with the requirements of NZS AST/12 including any revisions of that standard.”

Incorrect New Zealand Standard reference and provides for uncertain future revisions
(the correct New Zealand Standard was prepared primarily for use in the consent process).

The bore installation shall be undertaken in accordance with NZS 4411:2001 Environmental Standard for Drilling of Soil and Rock.

“The consent holder shall surrender resource consent XYZ as volunteered as part of the proposal.”

A ‘subsequent’ resource consent cannot normally affect the exercise of another existing consent. However, if volunteered, the condition may be enforceable. However, restrictions on a ‘subsequent’ consent can be linked to the exercise of another consent.

Consent ABC09013 shall not be exercised concurrently with consent ABC02342.

“The consent holder shall re-submit a parking plan to council for approval. The
parking plan shall accord with the amended parking plan tabled at the hearing and
shall indicate:…”

All these conditions involve a ‘secondary approval’ and are therefore not lawful. Even if an applicant proposes such a condition and the ‘Augier principle’ would allow it, it is not recommended.
The plan content requirements should be resolved prior to the decision to grant consent or a certification process developed. See examples of certification .
May need to discriminate between those matters that must be specified in advance or certified and those matters such as detailed design issues which may not need to be controlled by consent conditions.

Provision for parking shall be undertaken in accordance with the attached Parking Plan 09/01v1.4, October 2008.

Vehicles and machinery shall not be operated in flowing water except when necessary to: maintain a water channel depth of at least 0.45 metres for allow fish passage; enable compliance with condition X; and to maintain the swimming hole known as “The Local Swimming Hole” approximately 100 metres downstream of the State Highway 99 bridge.

Within 15 working days of completion of the gravel extraction works, the river bed shall be restored in accordance with the attached “Post-gravel extraction works river bed restoration plan” reference XTY and dated XCVB.

“A lighting plan shall be submitted to the council for approval.”

“Prior to commencing works, the consent holder shall submit to council for review
and approval a site management plan for the works.”

“Vehicles or machinery used to extract gravel under this consent shall not be operated in or through running water, except when expressly permitted in writing by any authorised officer of the council.”

“The consent holder shall prepare an Earthworks Design and Management
Plan and submit this to the Council Environmental Services Group Manager for approval no later than 3 months prior to the commencement of earthworks on the site.”