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Report shows improving compliance

The vast majority of Southland farmers are following the rules with the rate of significant dairy non-compliance dropping to 1.9%, the annual Environmental Compliance Monitoring Report has found.

The 2017/18 Compliance Monitoring Report summarises the activities of Council’s compliance monitoring and enforcement and technical teams throughout the Southland region.

There continues to be a strong focus on compliance within the dairy sector.

The rate of significant non-compliance dropped this year to 1.9% (down from 4.1% the previous year).

Regulatory committee chairman Cr Neville Cook said the result indicated the vast majority of dairy farmers in the region were stepping up to the mark when it came to consent compliance.

“We’re pleased with the high level of compliance that we’re finding when we’re visiting farms across the region,” he said.

Compliance manager Simon Mapp said all dairy farms were inspected – 941 effluent discharge consents, some more than once in a given year.

Monitoring was interrupted by Mycoplasma Bovis this year, but through a mixture of aerial and on-site inspections staff were able to complete a similar number of inspections to the previous year.

When a farm is graded as significantly non-compliant there is a range of follow-up actions available. Not all of these actions result in enforcement. Other actions include re-inspection, infringement notices or abatement notices.

In October 2017, Council introduced a Diversion Scheme as another tool in the compliance toolbox.

The team’s approach is based on the 4E’s (Enable, Encourage, Educate and Enforce), which remains at the heart of what it does, and the highly successful ‘Shed Talk’ programme continues to be a key tool for the compliance team.

Mr Mapp said this year they focused on new consent holders and those with variations to consents who would most benefit from Shed Talks.

The year has been very busy with 961 total incidents responded to by the team – up 34% on the previous year. As the Regional Air Plan 2016 had kicked in, odour and smoke complaints and incidents have become a higher priority.

The summary is also an opportunity to highlight some key trends in environmental monitoring during the past year and benchmark them against the patterns observed during the previous two years.

ENDS

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