NES issues new Permits and Applications Process

Environmental compliance is a core function of NES to deliver under its regulatory arm. As part of its communication launch, NES has revamped all processes relating to its permits and applications.
NES issues new Permits and Applications Process

There are a total of seven permits issued by NES:

  1. Environment Approval
  2. Environment Consent
  3. Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Permit 
  4. Transboundary permit on hazardous waste
  5.  Licence to import biodegradable plastic bags
  6. Montreal protocol permit to import hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) goods

The first three permits are the main permits issued by the Environmental Compliance Department and the Island Environment Authorities. Applicants for all three permits must firstly complete an Environment Significance Declaration (ESD) form to identify the scope of works and the correct application required.  

The Environment Approval, formerly known as the Building Permit, is for activities with minimal environment impact. This may include a standard residential property and trek clearing. The Environment Consent is for activities with some environmental impact in areas of concern; foreshore, wetlands and slope lands. This may include a foreshore clearance or building on a slope land. The EIA Permit is for activities that are likely to cause significant environment impact. This may include dredging, beachfront resort development and large public infrastructure projects.

All information regarding the permits are covered in the NES Factsheets number 2 to 5. Please visit to download the factsheets and process maps. 

Vavia Tangatataia, Manager of Environmental Compliance, noted “while the factsheets outline the most frequently asked questions and the process maps, my department will continue to build on this work by updating our compliance work manual, produce a guideline and conduct training for operators, developers and the general public. Together with capacity development, NES will continue to strengthen its compliance systems and processes and will engage with the public through its communication channels.”

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About Nes

The National Environment Service is established to protect, conserve and ensure the Cook Islands environment is managed sustainably. The agency is headed by a Director with delegated powers to carry out the functions of the Environment Act 2003.

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