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Hinds/Hekeao Plains the focus of Variation 2

Hinds/Hekeao Plains the focus of Variation 2 of Land & Water Regional Plan

Environment Canterbury announced today that it would notify Variation 2 of the proposed Land & Water Regional Plan for public submissions on Saturday 27 September 2014.

Environment Canterbury Commissioner Peter Skelton says all Cantabrians, and particularly those in Mid Canterbury, can feel assured by the way Variation 2 has been developed by a community-led process taking account of a wide variety of views.

“This document represents several years of time and effort from many people with an interest in water issues in the Hinds/Hekeao Plains area,” Professor Skelton said.

Variation 2 is the second change to the proposed Canterbury Land & Water Regional Plan (on which decisions were notified in early 2014) and it gives effect to recommendations from the Ashburton Zone Committee as part of the collaborative Canterbury Water Management Strategy. Variation 1, which is now in the hearing phase, relates to the Selwyn-Waihora catchment.

The Hinds/Hekeao Plains area is one of the most productive in Canterbury. The availability of plentiful clean water has been one of the critical ingredients to the catchment’s economic success. Water resources are now showing signs of stress. Nitrogen levels are increasing and water availability is decreasing. These trends have not only had a negative effect on cultural and ecological values but have also affected the reliability of supply for users.

The Zone Committee’s “solution package” for the area has been in four parts – catchment-scale actions, local-scale actions, investigations, monitoring and review, and community engagement.

The Variation proposes outcomes limits, targets, timeframes and additional policies and rules to address over-allocation of water quantity and quality in the Hinds/Hekeao Plains area. This means that activities occurring in this area must comply with the region-wide rules in the proposed Land & Water Regional Plan, together with the specific sub-regional rules that apply in the Hinds/Hekeao Plains area as a result of Variation 2.

A new schedule on farm practices sets out management practices relating to nutrient management, winter grazing of intensively farmed stock, cultivation and collected animal effluent. A new map series for Ashburton is introduced.

“The notification of Variation 2 and the call for submissions represents a significant achievement for everyone involved – the Zone Committee, Ngāi Tahu, other councils and agencies, industry and advocacy groups, as well as many individuals with an interest in the catchment,” Professor Skelton said. “Achieving consensus on a package of solutions and a way forward is a real milestone in a challenging water management catchment.”

Submissions close on 24 October 2014. The rules in Variation 2 have immediate legal effect from the date of notification (27 September) under the Resource Management Act 1991.

For information on the proposed Land & Water Regional Plan, go to www.ecan.govt.nz/lwrp


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