When do the Environment Court decisions come into effect?
The Environment Court decisions are interim ones. The Council has been asked to provide the Court with redrafted wording for the Plan in line with the outcomes sought by the Court by the end of October. The final decision is not expected before the end of November.
Our initial priority is to work through the decisions. We will then continue to work with key stakeholders on implementing the plan. This implementation programme will be staged over the coming months.
How do the Environment Court decisions affect me and my property?
The changes to the Plan made by the Environment Court cover the following areas:
If you want to remove or alter a rare, threatened or at risk habitat then you will need to apply for a resource consent. Council staff can help identify whether you have any of these habitat areas on your farm.
Both large and small scale earthworks are captured, with earthworks over 2500m2 in area requiring resource consent. Cultivation on a slope over 20 degrees will require consent. Land disturbance and vegetation clearance need to be 5 metres away from a water body (which is now defined as having a width of 1m or more), and where the slope is over 20 degrees the setback has to be 10m.
Existing dairy, intensive sheep and beef (which are farms that are irrigated and over 4 hectares), cropping and horticulture operations within priority catchments will require a resource consent in terms of nutrient management. A list of these catchments is as follows:
(a) The Manawatu River and tributaries from the Woodville end of the Gorge to the Tiraumea confluence excluding the Mangahao (Mana_9a)
(b) The Manawatu River and tributaries from the confluence of the Tiraumea to source (Mana_1 - Mana_6)
(c) The Mangatainoka River (Mana_8)
(d) The Mangapapa (Mana_9b)
(e) The Mangaatua (Mana_9c)
(f) Kaitoke Lakes (West_4)
(g) Southern Whanganui Lakes (West_5)
(h) Northern Manawatu Lakes (West_6)
(i) Lake Papaitonga (West_8)
(j) Waikawa (West_9a & West_9b)
(k) Lake Horowhenua (Hoki_1)
(l) Coastal Rangitikei (Rang_4)
Nitrogen leaching limits are set based on LUC.
NOTE: Conversions to dairy, intensive sheep and beef, cropping and horticulture anywhere in the Region will require a consent for nutrient management. Nitrogen leaching limits are set based on LUC.
Existing farms within the Priority Catchments
Existing farms (dairy, intensive sheep and beef, cropping and horticulture) affected by the nutrient management aspect of the One Plan are properties within the priority catchment areas only. 440 existing dairy farms will be affected and approximately 4 irrigated sheep and beef, 36 horticultural and 18 existing cropping properties. The number of sheep and beef, horticultural and cropping farms is only approximate as it has been taken from our consents database as farms that have consents to take water for irrigation purposes.
If I am an existing farm within a priority catchment or a new farm (dairy, intensive sheep and beef, cropping and horticulture) anywhere in the Region what will the nitrogen limits on my property be?
This depends on the land use capability class of your property which is closely link to soils. This will form part of your nutrient management plan which will determine the limits on your property. If these limits cannot be met then a more detailed assessment of mitigation options for Nitrogen loss will be required.
Will my water take be affected?
The Environment Court decisions make no changes to the Policies and Rules for water takes as set out in the Decisions Version of the One Plan. Users who do not meet the Permitted Activity water take rules for surface and groundwater are required to apply for a Resource Consent. The amount of water applied for must be reasonable, justifiable and efficient for the purpose.
What do I need to do to comply?
Right now you don’t need to do anything. The decisions need to be finalised by the Court and we don’t expect this to happen until the end of November. We will then need to wait for the appeal period to the High Court to close. The rules then will not become operative until early 2013 at the earliest.
In terms of the nutrient management requirements for existing farms within priority catchments, there will be different dates when the rules come into force depending on which water management sub-zone you are in (ranging from 2013 to 2015). When it is time for your catchment to change to the new regulation we will contact you. At that time you will be required to apply for consent and, as part of this, complete a nutrient management plan.
What will the nutrient management plan include?
A nutrient management plan is more comprehensive than a nutrient budget and will likely take into consideration:
If I have a dairy farm anywhere in the Horizons Region, and I’m looking at increasing my dairy herd size or I want to establish a new dairy farm, horticultural or cropping farm or intensive sheep and beef farm, what do I need to consider?
If you are thinking about making changes to your farm or purchasing a farm to convert to any of the activities identified above, then we recommend you book an appointment with one of our Rural Advisors who can discuss this with you.
Why are only farmers being targeted?
The One Plan doesn’t just affect farmers. Councils and businesses that discharge waste to waterways will also need to make changes to meet a higher standard set through the One Plan regulation. The Plan also covers areas of natural hazards, landscapes, water abstraction and land management issues that may affect the way organisations do business.
If you would like to find out further information on the Environment Court decision and how it may affect you please call 0508 4 1 PLAN (0508 417526).