The RMA sets out a series of duties and restrictions. Under the Act, everyone has a duty to avoid, remedy, or mitigate adverse effects on the environment, notwithstanding the requirements of consent permits. The duties and restrictions also mean that nobody can use natural resources such as water, air or the coast unless the RMA or a consent under it says so.
No-one may discharge any contaminant to water or onto land in a way which might enter water.
In the case of air and land discharges, any person operating industrial or trade premises is prohibited from discharging any contaminant without a consent permit. Although the presumption for the use of natural common property resources is very strict, the ropposite applies to the use of private land. Here, activities such as the right to erect a building, are deemed to be permitted unless constrained by provisions in statutory plans under the Act. Responsibilities for environmental decision making under the Act are allocated to the community most closely affected by the use of that resource.
A decision is therefore made by the community that will deal with the effects and that can best understand the environmental issues at stake. This means that the government, and district and regional authorities, are required to identify the environmental risks in their area, and develop policy statements and plans containing ways to regulate activities in response to those threats.
These plans and policies are constructed in a hierarchy, depending on the degree of action needed to address the perceived threat. Central government can develop national policy statements and environmental standards to address environmental issues affecting the whole nation such as management of the coastal zone or minimum ambient air quality to protect health -see Box 4. The government's statements and standards set policy boundaries from which local authorities develop their own policies and regulations.
Under the Act, Regional councils are charged with achieving 'integrated management of the natural and physical resources of the region'. Each council is required to draft a Regional Policy Statement identifying environmental issues and responses of significance for its region. It must also draft and administer a Regional Coastal Plan and may draft and administer other regional plans.
All regional policy statements and plans must be drafted so they 'are not inconsistent' with any national policy statements or environmental standards in place at the time. Regional councils also have responsibility for granting resource consents to occupy the coast; to carry out activities in river beds; to use natural water including underground, geothermal and coastal waters; to discharge contaminants to air, water or land; and to control certain activities on land for the purposes of soil conservation, hazard mitigation, and to protect the quantity and quality of natural water in accordance with the provisions of the Act, the Regional Policy Statement, and any regional plans.
Under the Resource Management Act, territorial authorities are charged with achieving "integrated management of the effects of the use, development, or protection of land and associated natural and physical resources of the district" emphasis added. Territorial authorities must draft district plans identifying environmental issues of significance relating to land use for the district, and setting down any restrictions and controls on land use and subdivision taking into account the issues identified in the Regional Policy Statements and any regional plans that affect that area, and in national policy statements or environmental standards.
The territorial authorities also grant resource consents for subdivision of land and for activities on land where these have been determined as necessary in the district plan in accordance with the provisions of the Act and the district plan.
The Resource Management Act does not presume regulation is the only, or necessarily the best, way of dealing with environmental problems. Built into it is a requirement for decision-makers to carry out an appropriate assessment of alternative mechanisms. These include providing information, undertaking works and services, providing subsidies and the use of economic instruments-for example, tradeable water permits. The Act sets a strict requirement that, before adopting a policy statement or plan or national environmental standard, decision-makers under the Act must analyse the alternative means of achieving the environmental outcomes sought, and choose the most cost effective one or combination in the circumstances.
The RMA has a common process for all consents, whether for land, subdivision, water, the coast, or the discharge of contaminants. Rules in plans also provide for the degree and type of scrutiny of proposals for resource consents permits. There are five levels of consents: permitted, controlled, discretionary, non-complying and prohibited. Anyone proposing an action requiring a consent must carry out an impact assessment of the effects of that proposal. Plans can set out the particular impacts that the community wishes to examine and control. If there is no plan, or if the plan does not contain environmental criteria, the applicant must ensure that all adverse impacts on the environment are identified and measures to avoid, remedy or mitigate them are identified and developed.
Where a proposal needs more than one consent, these will be dealt with concurrently and by a joint hearing where necessary. This mechanism applies within and between agencies also. Where this monitoring indicates a discrepancy from the original target, the local authority must act to resolve this-either by changing the target or the measures needed to achieve compliance.
The Ministry for the Environment coordinates development of environmental standards and guidelines to help local authorities and resource users implement their responsibilities under the Resource Management Act RMA. Standards and guidelines help define the 'environmental bottom line' of sustainable management described by the Act by setting values and targets for environmental quality. Guidelines contain recommendations for the attainment of certain aspects of environmental quality.
They can identify specific targets for environmental outcomes, incentives for resource managers to work towards those outcomes, different means for achieving them, and ways of measuring progress towards them. They are not legally enforceable in themselves, but provide a useful means for standardising practice. They can be incorporated into local authorities' policies and plans and then become legally enforceable , and some can be translated into codes of practice for industry groups. Standards differ from guidelines in that they are legally enforceable and apply nation-wide.
The RMA provides for national environmental standards to be enacted in the form of regulations. Standards for the use, development and protection of natural and physical resources can relate to:. In October , the Ministry for the Environment published a paper detailing the principles and processes for developing standards and guidelines Ministry for the Environment, c. These include the principle that standards and guidelines should prescribe the minimum amount of regulation to best achieve the desired environmental outcome, that they should consider impacts on other parts of the ecosystem, and that they should employ a precautionary approach which takes account of the uncertainty in the measures prescribing environmental quality.
The paper also states that standards should be developed only where the advantages of protecting national values or providing national consistency outweigh the advantages of regional resource management.
An Act to provide for the protection and improvement of environment and . Without prejudice to the provisions of sub-section (3) of section 3. Environment Protection Act, 19 Nov and 26 sections is an Act of the Parliament of India. The definitions are given in the second section of the Act. Chapter two describes general powers of Central Government. section 3 gives the Central Government the power to take action to protect the environment. section 4 allows.
The process for developing standards and guidelines aims to ensure widespread public consultation and peer review. Several drafts, and submissions on them, are called for at several stages in the development process. A significant element of the process for developing standards is a formal 'section 32' report, which is an evaluation of the alternatives to, benefits and costs of, adoption of the proposed standard. To date, no national environmental standards have been enacted. However, several guidelines have been developed, some of which may be enacted as standards in future.
To date, guidelines developed by the Ministry for the Environment are:. The Ministry for the Environment is also coordinating development of guidelines on coastal and fresh water bathing quality, toxic contaminants in water, stock drinking water, instream flows, organochlorines management, air emissions source testing, and marine pollution.
The Ministry of Health also develops guidelines, especially where use of resources can have effects on human health. Guidelines published by the Ministry of Health to date include:. The Crown Minerals Act controls mining rights to Crown-owned minerals. It deals with the allocation of property rights. It establishes minerals programmes and sets royalty regimes for the various mineral ores. Permits are granted for prospecting, exploring and mining in accordance with these programmes and subject to the royalty regimes and appropriate conditions.
A mining permit does not confer any right to access-this must be negotiated between the permit holder and the landowner. In the case of Crown land, access conditions are determined in accordance with the legislation under which the land is being managed. The Resource Management Act controls the environmental effects resulting from the use of those rights.
Mineral depletion is therefore exempt from the sustainability provisions of the RMA, but the environmental impacts of the mining and use of minerals on other resources may be addressed under the RMA. The Environment Act established the Ministry for the Environment and authorised appointment of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.
In addition to establishing these new administrative agencies, it entrenched the Government's commitment to include environmental issues as a key element in its policy-making formula. One of its objectives is to ensure that, in the management of natural and physical resources, full and balanced account is taken of:. It provides a legal framework to protect and manage nationally and internationally important flora, fauna, ecological communities and heritage places — defined in the EPBC Act as matters of national environmental significance.
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The Minister for the Environment, the Hon. Sussan Ley MP, has amended the list of threatened species and ecological communities under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to include 34 species and three ecological The Minister for the Environment has amended the list of threatened species under the EPBC Act to include one species, transfer two species between listing categories, remove five species and retain two species in their current category.