At WM Environmental we pride ourselves on being a team of specialist environmental management consultants you can trust for advice and support when it comes to meeting your compliance requirements.
So much so, we have recently launched The Proactive Reconsenting Package - a service we’ve developed to provide targeted environmental management services for consent holders. Our services will be carried out regularly throughout the duration of your consents to ensure we can deliver relevant, effective outcomes when it’s time to renew them.
When the new freshwater regulations took effect on September 3, 2020, the bar was set a lot higher for consents that have the potential to have an impact on freshwater, as well as for those existing activities in need of re-consenting.
The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 (NPS-FM) requires action to be taken by councils where the health of water bodies and freshwater ecosystems are declining, and for deteriorating trends to be reversed. This means renewal applications will require a more detailed assessment of the environmental effects of the consent job. That way, they can better identify impacts on water quality and propose changes.
We developed the Package in response to this - our aim is to support re-consenting and contribute to achieving NPS-FM outcomes. We’ll do this by providing a demonstrated track record of proactive environmental management and a continual improvement across the life of the consent.
How does the package add value?
- It demonstrates continual improvement, not just the cumulative benefit of incremental changes but also the significant ones.
- Captures actions being taken that create environmental benefit, as well as those that may not otherwise be documented.
- Puts the consent holder in control of taking environmental actions when it best suits their operation, rather than at the last minute when it’s time to re-consent.
- Allows environmental actions to be targeted and relevant to the specific operation our clients are undertaking.
- Reduces cost of reconsenting by providing the required information and reducing the time it takes to prepare the consent.
The Package is based on elements of the environmental management concepts in the ISO14001 Environmental Management Systems Standard, and is tailored to the scale and extent that is relevant to farm operations.
What’s the framework of the Package?
We work with you to develop and implement a Farm Environment Plan. This includes identifying the environmental risks and opportunities and the associated controls and actions that come with that. We also go over the compliance obligations required by resource consents, as well as other regulations and associated actions.
Next, we undertake six-monthly and annual reviews of the Farm Environment Plan to review progress against actions and document outcomes, and adjust as necessary. The review also assesses the effectiveness of controls used to manage the environmental risks and opportunities, as well as those that are new or changing.
We utilise the Farm Environment Plan and regularly review documentation, as well as draft applications to renew resource consent(s). This includes a detailed assessment of the effects on water quality arising from the operation and how they have changed over the duration of the consent. That way we can provide evidence that the consent holder has regularly and proactively sought to improve the effects on the environment of the operation.
Then we gain a renewed resource consent for the activity by lodging it with the relevant council, before continuing with regular reviews of your Farm Environment Plan.
What’s the value to the Consent Holder?
Rather than re-consenting at the time it is due, we work with clients and their package to help them allocate time and money to resource consent management - throughout the life of the consent. In doing this, clients can reduce the overall time and money spent on re-consenting when they have access to a full, comprehensive record of all the required information they need to do so. The best part is, the client doesn’t have to gather or provide it to the consultant. This means more flexibility and opportunity to implement appropriate environmental changes ahead of time.
It also reduces the risk of receiving stringent consent conditions, short durations on the renewed consent, or receiving a notification of the application. The package also provides less risk of consent non-compliance, due to regular reviews highlighting non-compliance risk and enabling a quick response if a non-compliance does occur.
The environmental opportunities may also deliver wider benefits such as operational cost savings, as well as efficiency gains.
For more information on our Proactive Reconsenting Package, contact our team at WM Environmental today.
Posted: 12 March 2021