National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry
The National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry (NESPF) came into effect on 1st May 2018.
The purpose of the NESPF is to maintain or improve the environmental outcomes associated with plantation forestry activities while increasing efficiency and certainty associated with those activities nationally. The regulations set out what activities, in relation to plantation forestry, will be permitted, controlled, restricted discretionary or discretionary under the Resource Management Act (RMA). The NESPF was developed in conjunction with the forestry industry by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
What does this mean?
For resource consents issued prior to the gazetting of the NESPF on 3 August 2017, the consent prevails over the NESPF, provided that the conditions of the consent are adhered to until the consent expires, or a review of the permit/consent occurs under Section 128 of the RMA.
For resource consents that were being processed between 3 August 2017 and 1 May 2018, if the decision on notification of the application was made prior to 3 August 2017 then the resource consent prevails. If the decision was made after 3 August 2017 then the NESPF prevails.
Any new consent applications lodged after 1 May 2018 will be considered under the NESPF.
How do I know if I need a resource consent?
The NESPF has a lot of rules and conditions for the range of activities associated with plantation forestry. Many of the regulations permit forestry activities but have a number of conditions that must be complied with before an activity can be undertaken without needing consent. See the MPI National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry
For some plantation forestry activities and effects, the Regional Land and Water Plan rules override the NESPF. This may include, for example, effects on important historic and cultural sites, and significant wetlands. Foresters should check if a consent may be required under the Plan rules that override the NESPF.
MPI Flow Charts
You can determine whether a resource consent is required for one of the below activities by using the flow charts linked below:
- Pruning and Thinning-To-Waste
- River Crossings
- Forestry Quarrying
- Slash Traps
District Council Consent Requirement
The NESPF has rules for effects such as noise which are managed by the relevant District Council. Foresters should check with their relevant District Council on whether a land use consent is required.
The Regional Council will incorporate the NESPF into the Land and Water Plan (L&WP) once the current Plan Change 1 has been completed.
Need more help?
If you are still unsure whether you need a consent for a particular forestry activity, contact the Council’s Consents and Compliance Team.