The appellant (Ravendown Fertilizer Co-operative Limited) sought amendments to various conditions attached to coastal and air discharge permits in respect of the company’s fertilizer works at Ravensborne. He also sought to overturn and vary the Council’s decision allowing discharges to the atmosphere for not affording adequate protection to property and the residential environment of Ravensdown generally.
The court analyzed section 5(2) of the Resource Management Act and emphasized that the Act’s purpose was not about exploring the limits of the environment in the interests of development and growth, but was concerned with seeing the environment maintained and protected, both now and in the future, by appropriate management. The Act supplied its own formula as to what was appropriate in this context by stipulating that the use, development, and protection of natural and physical resources was required to be managed in accordance with the concept of sustainability.
The conditions for discharges to the atmosphere as formulated presented the best practicable options for mitigating the various actual and potential effects upon the amenity values of the surrounding areas and the quality of the environment, while efficiently utilizing the substantial plant and resources represented by the works.
If the results of impending monitoring, instrumental and otherwise, should point to a need for further plant modifications and upgrading, then the appellant would have to make its own commercial judgment on whether to outlay the additional capital required to maintain full production levels while meeting required environmental standards or whether to reduce production in order to achieve those standards.