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Pleasing result to monitoring programme

Pleasing result to monitoring programme

For the second year in a row, 91% of Bay of Plenty dairy farms checked in Environment Bay of Plenty’s annual monitoring programme are meeting their resource consent conditions

It’s a pleasing result according to Neil Oppatt, chair of the Regulation Monitoring and Investigation Committee.

“It’s the second year in the row we’ve achieved the 91% figure, which shows farmers are really taking action to make sure they’re doing the best thing for the environment,” he says.

The annual assessment looks at whether farms are meeting the terms of their resource consents when disposing of their dairy shed effluent.

“Of course there are always people who don’t place a high priority on appropriate effluent management and we’re not happy about that. Our goal is to achieve 100% compliance, and staff will continue to strive for that.

“However we’re pleased that the number of people with serious system failures has dropped from eight percent of those sites visited in 2005/06 to two percent this year.”

Mark Leslie, General Manager of Sustainable Milk Growth at Fonterra, says the significant improvement made by dairy farmers in the Bay of Plenty region reflects the growing importance they are placing on sustainability.

“The majority of farmers are working hard to hand their farms on to the next generation in better condition than when they found them,” said Mr Leslie. “Farmers realise that environmental performance is critical to their ability to do business now and in the future.”

Another pleasing result was the 100% compliance noted for systems that discharge to surface waters where there is a greater risk of environmental harm – the first time this has been achieved.

”An area of concern raised by staff was the apparent lack of management over effluent storage pond’s wastewater levels, leading to overflows,” said Cr Oppatt. “This is of particular concern where it occurred in the Rotorua Lakes catchments.”

He said Environment Bay of Plenty will continue checking farms over the coming months – for the second year in a row carrying out a random audit of dairy sheds outside of the normal monitoring season.

“We need to find out whether farmers are really adopting and maintaining the correct practices, or just making sure they’re doing what they need to do to meet the conditions of their consent at the time of our announced visits. Unlike the recent annual monitoring there’ll be no warning when we do the audits.”

If farmers need advice about how to meet their consent conditions, he suggests giving a member of Environment Bay of Plenty’s Pollution Prevention team a call

ENDS

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