Pressure from iwi has forced Taranaki Regional Council to drop a minimum $10,000 up-front charge for independent consents hearings.
Te Korowai o Ngāruahine Trust criticised the payment in its submission to the council's annual plan.
The trust's submission said the charge restricted the ability of people with genuine environmental concerns to seek an independent hearing.
Earlier this year the council revealed it had spent $270,000 chasing three members of the Friends of the Waitara River for the $12,000 cost of an independent hearing.
A council spokesperson said people wanting an independent hearing would still be liable for any additional costs.