Why we have rules around earthworks
Earthworks are an important part of developing the city so it can meet the needs of Wellingtonians. As earthworks can cause damage to the environment or affect other people or properties, there are district plan rules to manage them. This means you may need resource consent.
Our role is to help you avoid poorly engineered excavations or areas of fill that can cause instability on the work site, on neighbouring properties, and on publicly owned land (including legal road). Poorly managed sediment can pollute waterways and dust can cause a nuisance for neighbouring property owners. Earthworks that create high cuts or fills or are carried out over a large area can have significant visual effects.
"Earthworks" are defined in the District Plan as "removing, relocating or depositing earth (including soil, clay and rock) on natural or modified land".
Some works don't need resource consent. These are:
- topsoil mining
- turf farming
- ground cultivation
- grave digging
- maintaining sports fields
- archaeological excavations
District Plan rules
The rules around earthworks are in Chapter 30 (225KB PDF) of the District Plan. These rules apply to areas where earthworks can be done with no resource consent, as long as certain criteria are met.
If your proposed earthworks do not comply with any of the District Plan earthworks conditions in Chapter 30, you will need resource consent.
Making your application
If you wish to talk with us before applying for resource consent, you can arrange for a pre-application meeting. This is where we can work through any potential concerns with your proposal and we can advise on the information you will need to provide for your consent application.
When you are ready to apply, you can use our application form which will also explain what information we need and how to send us your application.
What to include with your application
Here’s what we need from you to decide on an earthworks resource consent. This is required under Schedule 4 of the Resource Management Act (RMA):
- Detailed plans, including:
- a site plan(s) that shows the existing topography and where proposed cut or will be carried out
elevations and cross sections of the proposed cut or fill
- details of any proposed retaining structures.
- An environmental effects assessment of the earthworks, including:
- An assessment of the earthwork's visual effects, and proposed mitigation measures.
- How land stability on and next to the site will be maintained. If there is any risk of instability, include a geotechnical report.
- How silt and sedimentation run-off will be controlled. For larger scale works read Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Erosion and Sediment Control Guidelines(2.8MB PDF) for the Wellington Region. For smaller scale works read Small Earthworks – Erosion and Sediment Control for Small Sites(546KB PDF).
- How dust nuisance will be controlled.
- Is earthworks material to be transported to or from the site, and:
- which off-site locations are involved
- type of machinery to be used (including intended truck size)
- proposed traffic management.
Making your application
If you wish to talk with us before applying, you can arrange for a pre-application meeting. This is where we can work through any potential concerns with your proposal and we can advise on the information you will need to provide.
When you are ready to apply, you can use our Resource Consent Application Form (308KB PDF) which will explains what information we need and how to send us your application.