Building and earthworks on contaminated or potentially contaminated land (HAIL land) may require resource consent from the Christchurch City Council or Environment Canterbury, or from both councils.

What is HAIL land? 

Land may be contaminated if it has previously been used for a hazardous activity or industry. A list of hazardous activities and industries, known as HAIL, is available on the Ministry for the Environment website. The land where a listed hazardous activity or industry has taken place is referred to as HAIL land. View the hazardous activities and industries list(external link). 

Examples of hazardous land use include orchards, market gardens and other horticultural lands where chemicals may have been stored or spraying may have occurred; service stations; motor vehicle workshops, timber treatment sites, landfills, and some industrial sites. Hazardous substances from these activities may be present in the soil many years after the activity has ceased.

How can I find out if a property is potentially contaminated? 

Environment Canterbury maintains a Listed Land Use Register (LLUR) that identifies sites where hazardous activities and industries have been located throughout Canterbury. You can check whether a property is on the LLUR at ECAN's website(external link) 

The LLUR is not an absolute record of all HAIL land within the city and is updated as new information comes to hand. Properties not included on the LLUR may still be potentially contaminated and classified as HAIL, based on other available information about previous uses. 

Note: The past use of land for a HAIL activity does not necessarily mean that the soil is contaminated – it is only an indication that the land is potentially contaminated and that hazardous substances may be present. The actual presence of hazardous substances can only be confirmed by soil sampling and laboratory analysis.

What resource consents might be needed?

Development or earthworks on HAIL land may require resource consents from the Christchurch City Council and/or Environment Canterbury, depending on the type and level of contamination present, and the volumes of soil disturbance and removal involved. The different types of consent are:

Christchurch City Council

  • Resource consent under the National Environmental Standard (NES) for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health, where the volume of soil disturbance is more than 25m³ per 500m² of the disturbed area; or the soil removal is more than 5m³ per 500m² of disturbed area. 
  • In some cases, resource consent under the NES is required for subdivision, change of use, soil sampling, and removal/replacement of fuel storage systems.
  • Resource consent under the District Plan where any earthworks will be carried out on land containing hazardous components.

Environment Canterbury

  • Resource consent under the Regional Plans for stormwater discharge (and dewatering if this is required). Note: in some cases, stormwater discharge may be covered by an existing global discharge consent held by the Christchurch City Council for discharges into its stormwater network. 
  • Resource consent may also be required under the Regional Plans for site investigations, remediation of contaminated sites and for removing and replacing fuel storage tanks.

Where resource consent is required, it is recommended that you engage a professional, for example, an environmental consultant, planning consultant, or solicitor, to prepare and submit the application(s) for you. This helps to ensure all required information is included and all of the necessary consents are obtained.

Early identification of the consent requirements will enable better coordination of the consent processes and minimise delays in commencing work.  

If you have questions or would like more information about the resource consent requirements for contaminated land, please contact the Council's Duty Planner on (03) 941 8999, or Environment Canterbury Customer Services on 03 324 636 or 0800 353 9007.