There are rules for many different activities that impact the environment. The following documents are the ‘rule books’ we’re responsible for.

Proposed Regional Plan

This is the new plan currently under development which, once complete, will replace the existing regional plans. It covers the whole region (land and sea). Its main purpose is to set out rules for when a resource consent is and isn’t needed for activities that impact on the coastal marine area, air quality, and freshwater. An activity that doesn’t require resource consent is called a permitted activity.

Until the Proposed Regional Plan is complete, the rules in other regional plans also apply.


Marine protection areas

New rules are now in place for marine protection areas in Mimiwhangata and Rakaumangamanga (Cape Brett).

The two no-take areas are from Maunganui Bay (Deep Water Cove) to Opourua (Oke Bay) in the Bay of Islands, and around the Mimiwhangata peninsula. In a third area, around Rakaumangamanga (Cape Brett), bulk harvesting of fish using specific commercial seining and trawling methods is also prohibited to a depth of 100 metres.


Regional Coastal Plan

This plan covers the region's "coastal marine area", which is the area from mean high water springs to the 12 nautical mile (22.2 km) limit of New Zealand's territorial sea. It has rules for things like moorings, boat ramps, dredging and removing mangroves.

See page 265 - Part IV of the Regional Coastal Plan to find the rules


Regional Water and Soil Plan

The Regional Water and Soil Plan covers activities that impact on freshwater and the soil. It includes activities like earthworks, discharges of sewage and taking water from rivers.

This Plan is important for our region considering that we have 1.26 million hectares of land, 26,700 km of rivers and 3480 hectares of natural lake area to manage.

See page 81 - Part V of the Regional Water and Soil Plan to find the rules.


Regional Air Quality Plan

This plan applies to air in the whole of the Northland region, excluding the coastal marine area. It has rules for activities like burning, spraying agrichemicals and abrasive blasting. Air quality in the coastal marine area is managed through the Regional Coastal Plan for Northland.

See page 63 - Part V of the Regional Air Quality Plan to find the rules.


Northland Regional Pest and Marine Pathway Management Plan

This plan sets out rules for controlling pests. It includes rules on possessing, transporting, and introducing pest species. It also includes rules to manage pests on the hulls of boats.


National Rules

From time to time central government bring out rules for various activities that have an impact on the environment. These include ‘national environmental standards’ and ‘regulations’. The national environmental standards relevant to freshwater are:

The regulations relevant to freshwater are:


Resource consents

Anything not permitted by regional plans requires resource consent.  A resource consent is a legal right to carry out an activity for a fixed period and comes with a set of conditions that must be met.


Safe boating rules

We maintain and enforce navigation safety bylaws to ensure your safety when boating on our harbours and lakes.