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Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE)

An Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE) is your determination of the effect of your proposed activity on the environment, positive or negative. You'll need to describe the effects resulting from your activity as part of your application for resource consent.

The purpose of the AEE is to determine the likely adverse effects that the activity will have on the environment, and how these effects can be avoided, remedied, or mitigated.

The Rules in the Nelson Resource Management Plan include assessment criteria against which an application is measured. It is therefore very important to identify what effects will be relevant and significant, and those will depend on the nature of the activity, of the site and of the surroundings. An example would be earthworks on unstable land will need to be more thoroughly assessed than earthworks on flat stable land.

The AEE should address these assessment criteria and demonstrate that the applicant has anticipated all the effects of the proposal and thought about ways to minimise those effects.

Effects of the proposed activity

There are many different kinds of effects, such as:

  • increases in traffic noise and movements, noise from machinery, reduced safety
  • soil erosion, silt and dust from land clearance
  • blocked views, or loss of view, shading, loss of privacy
  • loss of water quality
  • odour
  • visual impact, general impact on amenity values
  • effects from discharges of contaminants into land, air, or water

Effects can be positive or negative, short term or long term, cumulative, temporary or permanent, encountered in the past, the present, or the future. Address all the effects that are likely to arise from the proposed activity in as full detail as possible over all applicable timeframes.

What to include in your AEE

  • A clear description and explanation of every aspect of the activity
  • A clear description of the environment on and around the site of the activity
  • A site plan drawn to scale
  • An outline of all the effects on the environment that could arise from the activity
  • Any alternatives or measures that could lessen the impacts of the activity
  • Identification of people affected by the proposed activity
  • A record of any consultation you've undertaken with affected parties
  • A discussion of any monitoring of environmental effects that might be required

An AEE for a small scale activity is usually no longer than one page in length. 

If the application is of a large scale and intensity, the AEE will need to consider a wider range of effects. Large scale proposals often involve the services of an environmental planning consultant or other professional in preparing the AEE.  Large projects may also involve extensive social impact assessments, landscape assessments, engineering studies, and cultural reports.

Additional help

The New Zealand Planning Institute is the professional organisation representing planners, resource managers, urban designers, and environmental practitioners throughout New Zealand.

The New Zealand Planning Institute produces an Online Directory to help the public identify a qualified Consultant in their region. Seeking the advice of a qualified professional is more likely to smooth the path, and achieve the desired outcome.

Visit the Planning Consultants online directory to find Professionals in Planning, Design & the Environment.

Check out the Ministry for the Environment website, for a useful guide on preparing an AEE.

Also, for more detail refer to the "Fourth Schedule" of the Resource Management Act. Section AD8.4 of the Plan is also a source of information on AEE.

Depending on the scale of your activity, you may wish to seek help from an expert to prepare your AEE and/or resource consent application.