National Environmental Standard

​​​The National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health (NES) came into force on 1 January 2012. This standard will apply if your land is, or has been, used for hazardous activity or industry land and you want to undertake any of the following activities:

  • Subdivide or change the use of the land
  • Disturb the soil
  • Remove or replace a fuel storage system.

The Central Otago District Council is responsible for checking compliance with this standard. When we receive resource consent and building consent applications for new developments, we will be checking the previous, current and intended use of the land and if the NES will apply on your development.

Is my land covered by the NES?

The NES applies to your land if it is used, or has been used, or is more likely than not to have been used, for one of 53 specified hazardous activities or industries such as petrol stations, orchards, sheep dips, engineering workshops, and mining. These activities and industries, listed on the Hazardous Activities and Industries List (HAIL), are considered likely to cause land contamination.

How do I find out if my land is HAIL land?

  • You can check the HAIL list on the Ministry for the Environment website 
  • You can apply to Council for a search of Council records for records they have about your property's land use history (see below).
  • You could also seek information from the past property owners or neighbours.
  • You can contact the Otago Regional Council​.
  • You can also provide to Council a Preliminary Site Investigation (PSI). This is required to be conducted by a suitably qualified and experienced person.

Preliminary Site Investigation (PSI) Report

When land is more than likely to have included one or more of the activities listed on HAIL then the person who wishes to subdivide or change the use of the land needs to submit to Council a PSI.

The main objective of the preliminary site investigation is to provide background information in support of the suitability of the site for its intended use and will determine whether a detailed site investigation is necessary. 

This preliminary investigation may include a site walk-over but does not usually involve soil sampling.  This report must be prepared by a suitably qualified and experienced person. 

Detailed Site Investigation

If your preliminary site investigation report determines that the land could be contaminated, say the land assessed contained a sheep dip, or while it is known that a sheep dip existed somewhere on the site its location is unknown, then resource consent will be required together with a detailed site investigation under the NES. 

Record search

You can apply to Council for a search of Council records for records they have about your property's land use history. See the NES record search form below to apply. ​

Once an application is received by Council, staff will review property records to see if there is evidence of any HAIL activity occurring on the land. A number of sources will be reviewed including property files which may hold technical reports and aerial photos. The results will determine if the NES provisions apply.

A standard NES record search will take up to 10 working days to process.

Disclaimer: The Council does not hold records directly relating to activities on the Hazardous Activities and Industries List (HAIL). In the event some information is available it cannot be guaranteed as correct or complete, therefore may not satisfy your request. We recommend you undertake further investigation to determine whether any HAIL activities exist on the site. 

Cost: $100

Further Information:

For further information on the requirements of the NES please contact Council's Planning Department on (03) 440 0056 or email​

Page reviewed: 05 Apr 2016 2:55pm