A More Than Minor Debate: The Correct use of Effects Terminology

Francelle Lupis , Kate McDonald

New Zealand Acoustics, 24(3), pp.30- 33 . (2011).

We should all be proud pedants when it comes to our choice of words. Words are the primary medium through which your ideas and opinions can be conveyed. Words mean what they say, and if you want to say what you mean, then you must choose your words with great care. With that in mind, how many times have you somewhat aimlessly written or thought “the effects will be no more than minor” or “the effects are de minimis”? Be honest. It happens. A lot. These phrases have become somewhat of a mantra, trotted out automatically without a great deal of thought being given to exactly what is meant in any particular situation, or any thought being given to whether it is appropriate to use this phraseology at all. As a result, the Court still finds it necessary to remind experts and lawyers that the “no more than minor” assessment is solely a threshold test for otherwise noncomplying activities under a district or regional plan.