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National environmental standards

National environmental standards (NES) are regulations issued under section 43 of the Resource Management Act and can apply regionally or nationally (although all current national Environmental Standards apply nationally). This page explains why we have national environmental standards, and links to standards in effect and in development.

National environmental standards and what they are used for

National environmental standards (NES) are regulations that prescribe standards for environmental matters. The government sets standards where appropriate to ensure a consistent standard for an activity or resource use.

They can prescribe technical and non-technical standards, methods or other requirements for land use and subdivision, use of the coastal marine area and beds of lakes and rivers, water take and use, discharges, or noise. Each regional, city or district council must enforce the same standard. In some circumstances where specified in the NES, councils can impose stricter or more lenient standards.

National environmental standards in effect

The following standards are in force as regulations:

National environmental standards in development

The following standards are at various stages of development, ranging from initiating consultation to being legally drafted.

The previously proposed National Environmental Standard for Measurement of Water Takes is now regulations under section 360(1)(d) of the RMA. See the Resource Management Act 1991 webpage.

National environment standard withdrawn

The proposed National Environmental Standard for On-site wastewater systems has been withdrawn.