Permission to leave the Rena wreck on Astrolabe Reef is not a foregone conclusion, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council says.
A full resource consent process would be adhered to in the event that the Rena's owners apply for permission to leave the wreck on the reef.
Last week, the Government announced it had reached a deal with the ship's owners regarding compensation for costs incurred during the clean-up in the aftermath of the disastrous grounding last year.
In addition to the agreed upon $27 million, Rena's owners (Daina Shipping Company) will pay the Government a further $10 million if the wreck is left on the reef.
Regional council chief executive Mary-Anne Macleod said a consent application for such a plan would have to follow a "full and robust" statutory process.
"Recently, representatives of the owners have sought clarification from the regional council about the process that would be followed, and the sort of information that would be required if a consent application is lodged with council. We have given them the advice we routinely do for any potential applicant," she said.
"Under the provisions of our coastal plan, a consent is required for any wreck to occupy the seabed. The regional council would be duty-bound to receive and process any completed and adequately supported application that is lodged. However, we have not received an application and we do not know exactly what is proposed."
"We would like to assure the public that any consent application relating to the Rena will be processed in accordance with the requirements of the Resource Management Act."
She stressed the council was not party to government agreements about compensation.
"As a consent authority, we must act impartially and independently in processing any consent application."
The public would be notified and given every opportunity to express concerns in the event the ship's owners applied for consent.
"In processing any consent application, the regional council will engage the best scientific and other advice to ensure an informed decision can be made."
Meanwhile, a public meeting will be held tonight to present the first results of environmental sampling undertaken along the Bay of Plenty coastline in the wake of the Rena grounding.
Professor Chris Battershill and Professor David Schiel will present the results of their winter sampling of kaimoana, including tuatua, pipi, paua and kina.
The meeting takes place at the Mount Maunganui Surf Club from 7.30pm.