Farmers ready to move to the next stage of the Proposed Plan Change 10 process can now apply for a resource consent, with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council offering free consents for the next three months.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council chairman Doug Leeder says Regional Council is aware that some farmers and landowners, in the over 40-hectare category, are ready to take the next step, and so is Regional Council.
The Proposed Plan Change 10 will introduce rules for rural properties in the Lake Rotorua catchment, to limit the amount of nitrogen entering Lake Rotorua from land use to improve water quality.
The hearing process surrounding the proposed plan change was held throughout April and May 2017, and will continue to run its course with a recommendation from the independent panel due in the next month. That recommendation will then go to Regional Council for its final decision.
Mr Leeder says through the hearing process, Regional Council and the independent panel learned that many farmers are already operating at the 2022 required level – and some at the 2027 level.
“The priority now is to work with the landowners who are ready and want to move forward.
“The last thing we want to do is hold up landowners and farmers, who just want to get on with it.”
From July 1 to September 30, Regional Council is offering free resource consents to farming enterprises over 40 hectares. The estimated cost of a resource consent of this kind would normally be around $1000.
“The environment won’t wait, so we’re moving forward to achieve greater water quality for Lake Rotorua.
“We are all responsible for ensuring Lake Rotorua is in a healthier state to hand down to future generations.”
Mr Leeder says applying for a resource consent doesn’t compromise the authority of the hearing panel.
“The hearing process will continue to run its course and based on the final outcome, we’ll fund any necessary changes to farmers’ resource consents and Nitrogen Management Plans (NMP).”
Mr Leeder says farming enterprises over 40 hectares with a signed NMP can contact the Advice and Support Service, who can support farmers through the resource consent process.
Those that don’t have a NMP can also work with the service to create one, he says.
To contact Regional Council’s Advice and Support Service call (07) 921 3377.
- The Proposed Plan Change 10 will introduce rules for rural properties in the Lake Rotorua catchment, to limit the amount of nitrogen entering Lake Rotorua from land use in order to improve water quality.
- To meet water quality standards set by the community, nitrogen entering the lake must reduce by 320 tonnes by 2032. Less than half of that, 140 tonnes, will come from these proposed rules, and subsequent land use change.
- An additional reduction of 100 tonnes of nitrogen will come from voluntary land use changes purchased by the Lake Rotorua Incentives Committee; 30 tonnes will come from voluntary gorse conversion; while 50 tonnes will come from engineering initiatives.