Call-in of Plan Changes by Minister Parker
On Thursday 9 April 2020, the Otago Regional Council announced that Minister for the Environment, Hon David Parker, had called in both the Water Permits Plan Change (Plan Change 7) and the Water Quality Plan Changes (formerly ‘omnibus’ incorporating Plan Changes 8 and 1).
What does this mean?
- The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) will take over the process of the notification of both plan changes for submissions ahead of hearings in the Environment Court.
- Plan Change 7 had already been notified by the Otago Regional Council and the consultation process closed on 4 May. Given the Minister’s decision however, Plan Change 7 will be notified for a second time, which will allow those who have not yet submitted, a second opportunity to do so.
- Plan Change 8 & 1 will be notified by the EPA for the first time and submissions will be called for.
- Following further submissions in support or opposition of existing submissions, the matter will go to the Environment Court and a hearing procedure established.
- Anyone who has submitted on these plan changes, will be able to be heard without legal representation, as they would at a council hearing.
A recommendation by Council for further consultation with mandatory parties and sector group representatives, has been put forward to the EPA. It is not yet known whether this recommendation will be considered by the EPA.
Given Covid-19, the exact timeline of events is not yet known.
Further information can be found here.