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Nutrient Management and Waitaki Plan Change

Nutrient Management and Waitaki Plan Change to be made operative

The Environment Canterbury Council today resolved to make the Nutrient Management and Waitaki Plan Change, Plan Change 5 to the Land & Water Regional Plan, operative on 1 February 2019.

Councillor Peter Skelton said today’s decision was the culmination of a three-year process setting industry agreed “Good Management Practice” as the minimum standard for all farming activities.

“The plan change deals with the effects of land uses, particularly farming activities, on water quality at a region-wide level, and ensures the effective management of water quality in the Waitaki sub-region,” Professor Skelton said.

The nutrient management rules will apply in all catchments in the region not currently the subject of sub-region plans.

“Resource consent, including audited Farm Environment Plans, will be required if properties irrigate more than 50 hectares or have more than a specified amount of winter grazing of cattle, depending on property size,” Professor Skelton said.

“The nutrient management rules are intended to address the effects of changing land use and promote improved water quality outcomes throughout the region.

“With this in mind we need to be clear about what constitutes Good Management Practice on farm. Industry groups have now described what this means for their sector.

As a starting point, farmers should have a baseline nitrogen leaching rate that reflects Good Management Practice. “This is a requirement for farms requiring land use consent to farm,” Professor Skelton said. “Permitted farms need only comply with the irrigation and winter grazing limits.”

As part of the process to settle appeals on the plan change, an external working group was established to consider some implementation challenges.

“These challenges related to the need to ensure fairness and equity for all farmers without compromising environmental bottom lines,” Professor Skelton said. “I am confident that this work will achieve both of these outcomes and I thank the working group for its ongoing efforts.

“Excellent progress has been made with our planning work in the last few years,” Peter Skelton concluded. “In partnership with the community, we are well on the way towards completing catchment-focused rules for the whole region, with sub-region plans for the Orari-Temuka-Opihi-Pareora zones and the Waimakariri zone due to be notified in mid 2019.”

ends

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