Interim review of the National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health

This page provides information on the completed interim review of the National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health. The proposed amendments to the NESCS which the Government recently consulted on are based on findings from this review.

Findings of the interim review

The interim review determined that the NESCS has decreased the likelihood that sites will be developed and then later found to pose an unacceptable risk to human health. Concern that sites were being missed was a major driver for developing the NESCS, and as such the NESCS is largely achieving its original objectives.

However, the interim review identified several areas where implementation of the NESCS framework is creating inefficiencies, resulting in low-risk sites and activities being required to comply with the NESCS.

The proposed amendments to the NESCS which the Government recently consulted on are based on the findings of the interim review.

Scope of the interim review

During 2014 and 2015 the Ministry for the Environment conducted an interim review of the:

The purpose of the review was to assist our understanding of how the NESCS has been working since coming into effect in 2012.

The interim review focused on:

  • the activities for which resource consent is required:
    • soil disturbance threshold
    • removal of soil
    • subdivision
    • change in land use
  • whether contaminated sites are being remediated or contaminants are being managed on site
  • the Hazardous Activities and Industries List (HAIL). 

Contributors to the interim review

Thank you to all who contributed to the review in some form including: 

Councils     Other organisations  
Auckland Council Wellington City Council Tasman District Council Opus International Consultants Limited  Z Energy
Waikato Regional Council Waikato District Council Gisborne District Council GHD, Tonkin & Taylor Ltd BP Oil New Zealand Ltd
Greater Wellington Regional Council Hamilton City Council Taupo District Council Golder Associates Transpower
Otago Regional Council Christchurch City Council Selwyn District Council 4Sight Consulting Auckland Transport
Taranaki Regional Council Western Bay of Plenty District Council Tauranga City Council Sephira Environmental New Zealand Transport Agency
Environment Canterbury Far North District Council Dunedin City Council Landcare Research New Zealand Defence Force
Northland Regional Council Whangarei District Council Rotorua District Council Tasman Environmental Management Ltd Local Government New Zealand
Bay of Plenty Regional Council Central Otago District Council   Pattle Delamore Partners Ltd