This leaflet provides information for landowners and developers who are considering subdividing or changing the use of their land. It explains how to find out if your land and the activity you are planning is covered by the National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health.
For more detailed information about the standard visit our NES for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health web page
If you own land and want to subdivide or change the use of that land, you need to know about the National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health.
An environmental standard (under the Resource Management Act 1991) came into force on 1 January 2012. This standard means that if your land is, or has been, used for a hazardous activity or industry and you want to subdivide or change the use of the land, or disturb the soil, or remove or replace a fuel storage system, you will need to comply with the National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health (NES).
City and district councils, and unitary authorities, are responsible for checking compliance with the standard. Failing to comply with the NES may result in the council taking enforcement action against you.
Five activities are controlled by the regulations in the NES if they are undertaken on specified ‘at-risk’ land. Depending on the level of exposure people may have to any contaminants present, the activity may be allowed as a permitted activity, or will require a resource consent. To find out if the regulations apply to you, first check if your land is specified, then check if the activity you want to do is one of the five activities.
The regulations apply to your land if it is used, or has been used, or is more likely than not to have been used, for one of 53 specified hazardous activities or industries, such as petrol stations, orchards, sheep dips, engineering workshops, and mining. These activities and industries, listed on the Hazardous Activities and Industries List (HAIL), are considered likely to cause land contamination.
How do I find out if my land is HAIL land?
The regulations apply if your land is covered and you want to carry out any of the following activities:
The regulations do not apply to:
If the NES regulations apply to your land, resource consent is not required providing certain requirements are met.
As a guide, the following examples are the types of things that need to be complied with:
If you cannot meet the requirements of a permitted activity you will need to apply for a resource consent. Your application must include a report of the results of a detailed site investigation, including the results of soil sampling.
For more detailed information see
Your council’s environmental health officer can provide more information if you wish to discuss the requirements of the NES.
Last updated: 20 May 2013