Assessment of Effects

An assessment of effects is a systematic survey that looks at how the ecological impacts of a project can be avoided, remedied, mitigated, or offset. It is often a condition of resource consent.

What is an
assessment of effects?

An assessment of environmental effects (AEE) is a statement that details the ecological impacts of a development project.

It usually comes after surveys that identify the ecological traits of a site. This typically includes the type of habitat and the species of plants and animals found there.

Ecologists like us use this information to predict the potential impacts of a proposed development and make recommendations for ways to minimise them.

We do this using the effects hierarchy:

1. For each effect, we consider how it can be avoided.
2. If this isn’t possible, we look at remedies.
3. If remedies aren’t suitable, we look to mitigate.
4. If mitigation can’t work, we look for ways to offset the impact.

For example, a project might interfere with a protected species or habitat.

This protection status means that special consideration must be taken before work can go ahead.

That might consist of relocating a particular species or finding a new location for the project. But in most cases, a complex combination of various measures is required.

An AEE is designed to balance the needs of a project with those of the environment and local wildlife.

What it’s for

Proposed developments often need resource consent before they can go ahead.

An AEE is a common condition for resource consent.

It demonstrates that environmental impacts have been recognised and managed in accordance with the Resource Management Act.

Who it’s for

You might need an AEE if:

  • You’re going to apply for resource consent to develop land or property.
  • You’ve been asked to produce one as part of your resource consent application.
  • You’re conducting due diligence on a project and location before applying for consent.

An assessment of effects is conducted via a hierarchical system.

Each effect is assessed in turn.

The goal is to minimise the overall impact a project is likely to have on the environment, whilst finding practical solutions that should allow work to continue.

Both the project-specific needs and the ecology vary greatly, so depth and breadth of experience when producing these is essential.

And that’s where we come in. Our team has over 100 years of combined experience producing AEEs.

The process

For each effect, the report details:

1. How it can be avoided.
For example, a change of location.

2. How it can be remedied, if avoiding the effect is not possible.
For example, a temporary alternative that is only needed for the duration of the work.

3. How the effect can be mitigated, if a remedy can’t be found.
For example, a smaller area is used or impacted.

4. How the effect will be offset if none of the solutions above can be applied.
For example, a species is relocated or the habitat is reproduced elsewhere.

Every potential detrimental effect must be accounted for and managed appropriately.

The residual impacts must also be considered and included too, which are more difficult to identify.

The deliverables

Types of deliverables we can provide:

  • The assessment of effects report.
  • Strategic advice for clients that might need one in the future.

The planning, compliance, and monitoring that comes before, during, and after the assessment.

How does an
assessment of effects work?

Working with us

At Ecological Solutions, we like to take things three steps further than your typical consultancy.

A thorough and robust assessment of effects that satisfies all key stakeholders and your environmental obligations is just step one.

You’ll also get bespoke, innovative solutions to complex ecological problems based on decades of hands-on experience where required.

As an externally-focused team, we keep your project’s long-term interests at the core of everything we do. This means ensuring that any recommendations made are sustainable, future-proof, and make sense for your business.

Working with us gives you access to some of New Zealand’s most experienced freshwater and terrestrial ecologists.

Our experience

New Zealand’s ecology varies greatly across both the North and South Islands.

Having worked on a wide variety of  regional and national projects, we have insight into its various habitats and landscapes, and the unique challenges and opportunities they present.

What we offer

Do you need an Assessment of Effects?

Get in touch