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Environment Southland adopts Plan Change 13

Environment Southland adopts Plan Change 13

Council has today adopted Plan Change 13 – New Dairy Farming which was notified back in April 2012.

Environment Southland Chairman Ali Timms says while new dairy farming is a significant contributor to the region’s economy, it can result in significant risks to our water quality which have to be managed.

“The rule will provide Council with a tool to meet the community's concerns for water quality while also meeting our national obligations,” Ms Timms says. “It will help to ensure that Southland's water quality doesn’t decline any further while we work with the community to move towards establishing catchment limits as required by the government's National Policy Statement for Freshwater.”

Plan Change 13 ensures that applicants undertake a soil-based risk assessment of their property prior to conversion, and then develop a Conversion Environmental Plan. It includes the appropriate mitigation measures to minimise the environmental effects of the activity – in particular on water quality. The Conversion Environmental Plan incorporates a nutrient management plan and a winter grazing plan on the land that is converted.

The Plan Change has followed due process and has involved the farming community, members of the public, local iwi, stakeholders and other local authorities. A Hearing Panel was established to hear submissions and has made recommendations to Council on the final format and structure of Plan Change 13.

Changes to Plan Change 13 as they differ from what was notified following the submissions and Hearing Panel:
• The rule encompasses one policy not two.
• The focus is on risk management rather than ongoing management of the conversion.
• A Conversion Environmental Plan is required for each application. This was previously called a Farm Management Plan in the policy.
• Consent applications will be served on specific parties.

ENDS

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