How to apply

The process of making an nationally significant proposal application is similar to applying to a council.

Lodging a matter

Matters can be lodged directly with us instead of the relevant council to obtain a more streamlined decision-making process.

The Minister can only refer a matter to a board of inquiry or the Environment Court if it is, or is part of, a proposal of national significance. You should not lodge a matter with us unless you think that it is nationally significant.

We have developed information sheets to explain how to make an application:

EPA fact sheets on applying for a proposal of national significance

Applying to the EPA (pdf 299KB)

The processes for matters of national significance are rigorous and have tight timeframes. This means applicants need to be well prepared.

If you are considering lodging a matter please contact us as early as possible to obtain guidance about the pre- and post-lodgement process, and to ensure that you submit a complete application.

Pre-lodgement process

Matters of national significance can be lodged directly with us for consideration for referral to a board of inquiry or the Environment Court.

If you are considering lodging a matter you should contact us as soon as possible. We can provide guidance about the process and information requirements. You should also inform all relevant local authorities of your intent to lodge a matter directly with us.

We only have 20 working days to assess the matter and make a recommendation to the Minister, so it is important that all information is received by us at the start of the process and that the matter and supporting information are fully ready to be processed. If you contact us prior to lodging a matter, it can assist you to ensure your application is comprehensive and complete.

Matters must include the information required by the Resource Management Act 1991 and on the correct forms.

Once you lodge a matter with us, we will assess it for completeness and national significance. 

Post-lodgement process

Once a matter has been lodged with us, we have 20 working days to make a recommendation to the Minister for the Environment on whether the matter is of national significance and should be referred to a board of inquiry or the Environment Court.

For all matters we will acknowledge receipt of a matter and will assess it for completeness and national significance. If the matter passes this stage it will remain with us for processing, if not it will be returned to you.

We can request further information or commission a range of reports during the processing stage. If we request further information from you or commission a report before we make our recommendation to the Minister, the 20 working days 'clock' is stopped.

When we receive the required information or the deadline for providing information passes, or we receive the commissioned reports, the 20 working day 'clock' is reset.

When we make a recommendation to the Minister a copy is also provided to you and the local councils.

The Minister then makes a direction on whether to refer the matter to either a board of inquiry or to the Environment Court.

Resource management application forms

You can access the forms you'll need to complete in our Forms library. Choose 'RMA proposals' from the drop-down.

Resource management application forms