Controls exercised by the Plan are matched to the significance of adverse effects of the activitiy on the environment, either individually or cumulatively, and unnecessary bureaucracy and costs are avoided, so that:
Maximise certainty in the decision making processes.
The role of resource use in the Waikato and its contribution to enabling people and communities to provide for their social, economic and cultural well being and for their health and safety recognised, while ensuring that the purpose of the Act is met.
The resource consent process assisted by adequate and timely consultation between parties.
Principal Reasons for Adopting the Objectives
The issue statements identify process issues that may hinder the ability of the Plan to achieve the purpose of the RMA. The first three objectives address aspects of both Issues 1 and 2. They identify Council’s overall goals in undertaking the development of this Plan. The manner in which these objectives will be achieved will include enabling rules that permit activities that have only minor adverse effects, while providing certainty about standards to be met, assessment criteria and information requirements for those activities that require resource consents.
Objective 1 identifies that the degree of management exerted over activities by the Plan will be relative to the potential for adverse effects to arise from those activities. As further information is gathered the degree of management can be adjusted if this is shown to be appropriate by the monitoring of environmental indicators. The focus is on achieving sound environmental outcomes while minimising costs and bureaucracy.
Issue 3 is addressed by Objective 4. That objective recognises that one barrier to successful implementation of the RMA through the resource consent process is a lack (where it is necessary) of effective consultation. Implementation of the policies and methods contained in this Plan will encourage better consultation practice amongst resource users, and amongst members of the community with an interest in consent applications.
The general approach and philosophy of this Plan as outlined by Objectives 1 to 3 derives directly from the definition of sustainable management in the RMA, and from the Waikato Regional Policy Statement (RPS). This Plan, implements the framework that the RPS provides by adopting a philosophy of seeking to allow resource use while maintaining and, where possible, enhancing environmental standards to promote sustainable management of the Region’s natural and physical resources. Waikato Regional Council has embedded this philosophy in the objectives of the Plan.
In addition, Waikato Regional Council acknowledges that scientific knowledge of cause and effect relationships is continually evolving, and this, combined with ongoing environmental monitoring, means that policy responses to identified issues will evolve over time. Through the Plan, Waikato Regional Council has sought to provide certainty to resource users, but still allow flexibility in the assessment of activities that affect natural resources, and require resource consents. In many cases, at an objective or policy level, the Plan has taken a risk based approach. This approach acknowledges that in some instances there is a level of risk of adverse effects occurring that is able to be accepted, and still achieve the objectives of the Plan. This riskbased approach also allows decisionmakers to explicitly acknowledge scientific uncertainty as part of the process of managing environmental effects.