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Monitoring, Compliance and Enforcement

 

This section provides information on local authority monitoring and enforcement activities. Specifically, it reports on:

  • section 35 monitoring
  • complaints about breaches of the Resource Management Act (RMA)
  • compliance with resource consent conditions
  • resolution of complaint and consent compliance breaches.

Section 35 monitoring

Local authorities were asked whether or not they monitored and reported on policies, processes and environmental outcomes as required under section 35 of the RMA. Under section 35 local authorities are responsible for monitoring:

  • the state of the environment
  • the suitability and effectiveness of policy statements and plans
  • the exercise of any functions, powers or duties delegated or transferred by the local authority
  • compliance with resource consent conditions
  • complaints.

Sections 35(2A) and 35(2)(b) of the RMA requires local authorities to report at least once every five years on the results of monitoring the efficiency and effectiveness of their policy statement or plan. This may be in the form of an integrated policy/plan and state of the environment report.

While there is an expectation that information is to be kept and collected for all applications for resource consents, decisions, transfers of consent, complaints and other information under section 35(5), the only timeframe stipulated for the compilation of a report is that in regard to monitoring the effectiveness of policy statements and plans.

Table 13: Percentage of local authorities monitoring and reporting in 2005/2006

Local authority type

Regional

Territorial

Unitary

All

State of the environment (n=84)

Monitor

100%

46%

100%

57%

Report

92%

22%

80%

36%

Suitability and effectiveness of policies and plans (n=84)

Monitor

75%

52%

60%

56%

Report

58%

27%

40%

32%

Delegated/transferred functions (n=85)

Monitor

67%

44%

40%

47%

Report

50%

29%

40%

33%

Compliance with conditions (n=85)

Monitor

100%

93%

80%

93%

Report

100%

47%

60%

55%

Complaints register (n=85)

Monitor

100%

81%

80%

84%

Report

100%

46%

80%

55%

Source: RMA survey of local authorities 2005/2006, question 4.1.

Complaints about breaches of the Resource Management Act

Local authorities were asked to indicate the number of complaints concerning alleged breaches of the RMA, including excessive noise complaints.

In 2005/2006, 109,964 complaints were recorded by the 81 local authorities able to provide this information. This compares to 84 authorities recording 117,655 complaints in 2003/2004 and 109,609 in 2001/2002.

Table 14 details the number of complaints recorded in 2005/2006 by different local authority types. There are some limitations to this data due to:

  • some local authorities not distinguishing between excessive noise complaints and other complaints in their systems
  • some local authorities recording both complaints and enquiries in their systems
  • some local authorities not recording a complaint if it was resolved through informal action.

Table 14: Complaints about breaches of the RMA recorded in 2005/2006

Local authority type

Excessive noise complaints

Other complaints

Total

Number

Percentage

Number

Percentage

Number

Percentage

Regional

0

0

12,519

100

12,519

11

Territorial

80,256

88

11,034

12

91,290

83

Unitary

4,114

67

2,041

33

6,155

6

All

84,370

77

25,594

23

109,964

100

Source: RMA Survey of local authorities 2005/2006, question 4.2.

Resolution of complaints

Local authorities for asked for numbers of complaints resolved through different enforcement methods. The following enforcement options are available under the RMA:

  • enforcement orders
  • abatement notices
  • excessive noise directions
  • prosecutions
  • informal means
  • infringement notices.

In 2005/2006 there were 24,173 excessive noise directions; 21 enforcement orders; 1,004 abatement notices; 860 infringement notices; and 60 prosecutions. Over half of all complaints (56%) were resolved through informal means or were minor administrative matters not requiring further action.

Compliance with consent conditions

Local authorities were asked for the number of resource consents that required monitoring, the number that were monitored and the number that were fully compliant with their consent conditions.

In 2005/2006, 59% of resource consents that required monitoring were monitored. This compares to 60% in 2003/2004 and 64% in 2001/2002. Of the consents that were monitored in 2005/2006, 74% fully complied with their consent conditions, the same percentage as for 2003/2004 and slightly higher than the 72% reported in 2001/2002.

Resolution of breaches of consent conditions

Local authorities were asked for numbers of breaches of resource consent conditions resolved through different enforcement methods.

In 2005/2006, a total of 6,194 breaches of resource consent conditions were recorded. This compares to 9,137 breaches in 2003/2004 and 5,174 in 2001/2002.

In 2005/2006, breaches were resolved using informal means in 63% (3,902) of cases. For those resolved using formal resolution methods there were six enforcement orders, 615 abatement notices, 80 excessive noise directions, 621 infringement notices and 26 prosecutions.

Infringement notices

Local authorities were asked for information on the status of infringement notices.

In 2005/2006, 1,507 infringement notices were issued. This compares to 1,157 in 2003/2004 and 620 in 2001/2002.

Table 15: Number and percentage of infringement notices issued by local authority type

Local authority type

1999/2000 ( n=58 )

2001/2002 ( n=85 )

2003/2004 ( n=80 )

2005/2006 ( n=85 )

Number

% of total

Number

% of total

Number

% of total

Number

% of total

Regional

58

56%

335

54%

503

43.5%

785

52%

Territorial

42

41%

250

40%

561

48.5%

636

42%

Unitary

3

3%

35

6%

93

8%

86

6%

All

103

100%

620

100%

1,157

100%

1,507

100%

Source: RMA survey of local authorities 2005/2006 and 2003/2004, question 4.7; 2001/2002, question 4.17; and 1999/2000, question 4.21.

Of the 1,507 infringement notices issued in 2005/2006, 16% (238) were withdrawn and 1% (19) were appealed to the Environment Court. The remainder were either paid immediately or still in progress at the end of the survey period.