3 Jun 2009

Environmental authority to be established by next year

8:25 am on 3 June 2009

The Government hopes to have an Environmental Protection Authority up and running by July next year.

The move is part of an overhaul of the Resource Management Act.

The Government is considering a report from the Environmental Defence Society on how the planned authority could better protect this country's nature.

The report suggests the authority consider the impacts of nationally significant projects, such as major infrastructure, on the environment, and direct them to a board of inquiry.

It also wants the authority to create rules to help guide regional and district councils when considering smaller projects.

The society wants the authority to be independent and have the legal power to prosecute the Crown for any potential breaches.

Its report calls for a strengthening and simplification of the current environmental planning system, as well as suggesting the authority manage the coastline and oceans, identifying any areas which should never be developed.