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Final decision on Tukituki Catchment Proposal

Final decision on Tukituki Catchment Proposal

26 June 2014

The Board of Inquiry has today released its Final Report and Decision on the Tukituki Catchment Proposal. The Board’s decision is to allow the Plan Change request with amendments, grant the 17 resource consent applications, and confirm the Notice of Requirement (NoR) for the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme (RWSS) subject to the conditions.

The Board of Inquiry adopted a ‘dual nutrient’ approach in the Plan Change to manage both phosphorous and nitrogen in the Tukituki catchment. This included setting an in-stream dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) limit/target, as well as on-land [maximum allowable] leaching rates for nitrogen, based on the Land Use Capability Classification System (LUC).

Following comments received on the Draft Report and Decision, the Board has, in addition to other drafting changes:

• Corrected an error and amended the rule that would have required individual farmers to observe the DIN limit/target in receiving waters. If an individual farmer complies with the LUC leaching rates (and meets the other requirements of the rule other than the DIN limits) the use of production land is a permitted activity;

• Resolved an anomaly in the rules relating to the use of production land by raising the upper threshold for exceedences of LUC leaching rates (from 10% to 30%) before a restricted discretionary activity becomes non-complying; and

• Clarified that compliance with the LUC leaching rates should be determined using a four year rolling average of either measured or estimated leaching rates derived from annual nutrient budgets.

The EPA’s Chair Ms Kerry Prendergast says the amount of information before the Board was immense (over 28,000 pages of material), the matters were highly complex, involving significant conflicting and technical expert evidence.

Ms Prendergast thanked the Chair of the Board, the Hon Lester Chisholm and the other Board members – Russell Howie, Matthew Lawson, Loretta Lovell and Alec Neill for their work with this proposal.

The decision followed the Board’s consideration of the application, submissions/further submissions, evidence and included a seven and half week hearing.


ENDS

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