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Nutrient rules signed off for Rotorua

MEDIA RELEASE


Nutrient rules signed off for Rotorua

For immediate release: Wednesday 17 November 2005

New regulations that will affect the way people manage land around the Rotorua lakes are now officially signed off.

The regulations, known collectively as “Rule 11”, are part of Environment Bay of Plenty’s Proposed Regional Water and Land Plan. They became operative after staff successfully negotiated changes with various parties, who then signed an agreement to them.

Rule 11 sets limits on the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus leaving rural properties in the five most vulnerable lake catchments, Rotorua, Rotoiti, Okareka, Rotoehu and Okaro. The goal is to put a halt to increasing inputs of these nutrients into the lakes.

“When more nutrients are produced than the land can cope with, the excess eventually ends up in the water. So, if we want to fix the lakes, the bottom line is that we need to stop any further increases,” says project coordinator Paul Dell. Mr Dell says Rule 11 means landowners will need to manage nutrients more efficiently.

Nutrient benchmarks will be set for all rural properties larger than 0.4ha (4,000 square metres) in the five targeted catchments. In most cases, the benchmark will be an average of the annual nitrogen and phosphorus losses between mid-2001 and mid-2004. However, different timeframes apply to land that has been converted over that period.

Mr Dell says urban areas are also targeted, but through the management of sewage and stormwater discharges. “Everyone needs to do their bit for the lakes,” he says.

Environment Bay of Plenty nutrient assessment officer Penny MacCormick will be supporting landowners affected by Rule 11. Environment Bay of Plenty acknowledges the co-operation of landowners in the targeted lake catchments.
The Rule 11 regulations are part of a wide-ranging programme of action called the Rotorua Lakes Protection and Restoration Action Programme. This is a joint project by Environment Bay of Plenty, Rotorua District Council and Te Arawa Maori Trust Board.

For further information on Rule 11, give Penny MacCormick a call on 0800 ENV BOP (368 267) or go to www.envbop.govt.nz and click on the Rule 11 quick link.

ENDS

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