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Last call for input on draft Rotorua nitrogen rules

Wednesday, 8 October 2014 10:00 a.m.

Public feedback on the draft rules to set nitrogen limits for pastoral land use in the Lake Rotorua catchment closes Tuesday 14 October 2014.

The draft rules set out how Nitrogen Discharge Allowances will be allocated to individual rural properties using a mix of resource consents and permitted activities. These rules may affect all rural properties over two hectares in the Lake Rotorua groundwater catchment. 

Bay of Plenty Regional Council General Manager Environmental Delivery Warwick Murray said over the last three months there had been meetings, open days, mailings as well as online, radio and print advertising to prompt people to provide feedback. 

“So far we have received more than 90 feedback forms and expect to receive more by next Tuesday.  It’s really important that we hear from all sectors that may be affected by the rules so we urge landowners to tell us what they think,” he said.

“The feedback received will provide important information for us to be able to develop the rules with the intent to notify them next year. People can provide formal submissions once the rules are notified” he said.

“To date the majority of feedback has been received from rural landowners on blocks between two and 40 hectares, with dry stock being the most represented sector. We have also seen a rise in feedback in the last few weeks from landowners with sheep, native bush and horses as well as feedback from local businesses,” Mr Murray said.

The draft rules information and feedback form is available at www.rotorualakes.co.nz or from Bay of Plenty Regional Council offices.

Additional information

Key components of the draft rules include:

  • Resource consents may be required for all properties over 40 hectares or properties over 2 hectares with nitrogen losses of more than 10 kgN/ha/yr.
  • It is proposed that properties requiring resource consent would be allocated a Nitrogen Discharge Allowance that sets out the nitrogen loss allowed for that property, and would need to be met by 2032.
  • Nitrogen Discharge Allowances would be calculated by determining the effective land use area of dairy, dry stock and forest for each property at a specified date, based on a sector range.
  • How the Nitrogen Discharge Allowances would be allocated to an individual property would depend on the farm type (dry stock or dairy) and the property’s current nitrogen loss
  • Farm Nutrient Plans would be an important part of the resource consents to limit nitrogen loss. They would set out the current nitrogen loss for the property, the Nitrogen Discharge Allowance and what steps would be taken for managed reduction over time to meet the Nitrogen Discharge Allowance by 2032.
  • The minimum information requirements for Farm Nutrient Plans may include:
    • Benchmark / current rate of nitrogen loss
    • Nitrogen Discharge Allowance
    • A plan of actions showing managed reductions over time (this will include target reductions by certain dates)
    • Actions to achieve the Nitrogen Discharge Allowance (supported by an Overseer® file where appropriate).
  • Farm Nutrient Plans could be prepared by council-approved, certified nutrient management advisors and the latest Overseer Best Practice Data Input standards would need to be met.
  • A new compliance and monitoring regime could be introduced to measure and track the nitrogen loss reductions on a catchment basis and potentially include:
    • Landowners of properties over two hectares that do not require a resource consent could be required to supply an annual report to the Regional Council detailing land use including stocking rates.
    • Landowners of properties that need resource consent may need to provide a report annually that details the nitrogen loss for the property and progress against the Farm Nutrient Plan. It would be the responsibility of the landowner to confirm their nitrogen reductions through Overseer® (where appropriate) and to show they are meeting their resource consent conditions.
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