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So the council has said you need to apply for a resource consent. They've given you the application form and you've filled it in as best you can. You'd really like to tick the box that says "I attach a copy of an assessment of the effects on the environment" so you can lodge the application. So what is an assessment of effects? How do you prepare one? Should you tick the box and lodge the application anyway?

The simple answer is no. An assessment of environmental effects (AEE) must accompany your application for resource consent.

An AEE is the process of preparing a written statement identifying the effects of your proposed activity or activities on the environment. If your proposal is going to have negative effects, it is also the process of identifying how these can be avoided or reduced.

Preparing an AEE is a valuable way of recognising possible problems that may slow or stop the council processing your application. It will help you understand the potential effects of your proposed activity on the environment. It can also be used to get people involved in assessing those effects openly and positively. This gives people confidence that your assessment is being done in a sound and unbiased way, and reduces the chances of new issues being raised after you have lodged your application.

This guide tells you about the AEE process including:

  • why resource consents are needed (Section 1)
  • what an AEE is, why it's needed and how comprehensive it needs to be (Section 2)
  • the process for preparing an AEE - how to go about it and how the AEE should be drafted (Section 3)
  • tips on how to keep your application's processing costs to a minimum (Section 4)
  • the relevant sections from the Resource Management Act (Appendix 1)
  • an example of a basic AEE (Appendix 2).