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Canterbury farmers reminded about land use consent

Wednesday 25 October 2017

South Coastal Canterbury farmers reminded about land use consent

Environment Canterbury today sent a package of information to South Coastal Canterbury farmers reminding them of their responsibility to meet water quality limits and help them find out whether they need a land use consent to farm.

The South Coastal Canterbury section (Plan Change 3) of the Canterbury Land & Water Regional Plan became operative in September 2017. This places new responsibilities on farmers to operate within water quality limits and implement good management practices.

South Coastal Canterbury Zone Manager Chris Eccleston said 318 landowners in the catchment had been contacted and requested to take steps to see if they need a land use consent to farm, which needs to be applied for by 1 March 2018.

“These changes are part of our region-wide approach to improve water outcomes in Canterbury. For South Coastal Canterbury, improving the water quality at Wainono Lagoon is crucial and action is now required.”

Landowners will need to apply for a land use consent to farm if their property is over 5 hectares in size and their nitrogen losses exceed certain limits, which recognise differences between soil types.

Chris Eccleston said there were several steps farmers needing a consent were required to take and Environment Canterbury and industry bodies were available to help.

“Key steps to take are implementing industry-agreed Good Management Practices on the farm, creating a Farm Environment Plan, preparing nitrogen loss calculations, and then apply for consent. All these steps will help address the water quality issues in our zone.

“We realise this process is new to South Canterbury farmers and can be complex. That’s why we are here to help with one-on-one advice as well as local drop-in sessions.”

Two drop-in information sessions will take place next month: 2 November at Makikihi Country Hotel and 3 November at the Waimate Events Centre. Both sessions will run from 10am to 2pm and will have staff from the Timaru office available to answer questions and work through the process with farmers.

Plan Change 3 was developed after the Lower Waitaki South Coastal Canterbury Water Zone Committee, working with the community, recommended putting in place policies and rules to help achieve community goals for freshwater management in 2015.

The South Coastal Canterbury area spans from the Otaio catchment in the north, to the Morven catchment in the south and to the Hunters Hills in the west. The area includes hill-fed intermittent flowing rivers and lowland springs. The major feature of the area is the extensive wetlands at Wainono Lagoon.

Background – Land & Water Regional Plan

The operative Land & Water Regional Plan sets the framework to implement community aspirations for water through the Canterbury Water Management Strategy, a community led, collaborative approach to improve water outcomes throughout the region.

The Land & Water Regional Plan operates at two levels – a region-wide section and 10 sub- region sections. The policies and rules in the sub-region sections apply instead of, or in addition to, policies and rules in the region-wide section.

The sub-region sections implement the region-wide objectives in the plan in the most appropriate way for the catchment. For more information on the steps many farmers will need to take, go to www.canterburywater.farm


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