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Open days for owners of small properties to draft rules

Media Release

Open days for owners of small properties on draft rules for land use around Lake Rotorua

5 September 2014

Four open day sessions are being held by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council to help landowners understand how new draft rules for land-use around Lake Rotorua may affect them.

The draft rules set out how Nitrogen Discharge Allowances will be allocated to individual rural properties using a mix of resource consents and permitted activities. These rules may affect all rural properties over two hectares in the Lake Rotorua groundwater catchment.

The three month consultation period provides landowners and other stakeholders an opportunity to provide input into the development of the rules which are likely to be formally notified in 2015. People can make also formal submissions once the rules are notified.

Warwick Murray from Bay of Plenty Regional Council said that consultation on the draft rules started in July and was a crucial part of the rule development.

“We are half way through our consultation period and we want to connect with as many landowners as possible that will be affected by the rules so we can listen to their concerns and feedback.”

“Meetings have been held with various sector groups and we had an open day in July that was well attended,” he said.

“From listening to the feedback received so far, owners of smaller properties need more information on how the rules will affect them so we planned several open days in September,” he said.

Landowners will be able to drop-in to the Rotorua office anytime between9am to 5pm on the open days to have a one-on-one talk with Regional Council staff about how they currently use their land and what impact the draft rules may have.

“The open days are being held specifically for landowners between 2 and 40 hectares but anyone is welcome to pop in and provide feedback on the rules,” Mr Murray said.

The open days are being held on Monday 8, Wednesday 17, Monday 22 September and Wednesday 1 October at 1125 Arawa Street.

To learn more about the draft rules and how to give feedback, go towww.rotorualakes.co.nz.

Additional information:

• The draft rules have been developed to limit nitrogen loss from rural land for water quality objectives

• The community set a water quality target for Lake Rotorua based on a desire for water quality experienced in the 1960s

• The current nitrogen load to the lake is 755 tonnes and science has determined that a reduction of 320 tonnes is needed to meet the water quality target.

• 50 tonnes can be reduced through urban and engineering solutions such as reticulation of lakeside communities and removal of nitrogen from geothermal sources

• Nitrogen loss from rural land needs to be reduced by 270 tonnes, about half of the current annual nitrogen input of 526 tonnes.

• Support and incentives will be provided to landowners to help them and will include:

- Support and advice for landowners to make informed decisions on meeting Nitrogen Discharge Allowances
- An incentives scheme to purchase 100 tonnes of nitrogen reductions from landowners, applicable to reductions below Nitrogen Discharge Allowance levels
- A Gorse Conversion fund to help landowners convert mature gorse to production forestry, native bush or other low nitrogen activities.

ENDS

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