Wednesday, July 6, 2022

All farmers to get consents

Horizons regional councillors today signed off on the way their council will implement the new regulation to control nutrient loss on farms.

The rules mean existing intensive farming in some parts of the Manawatu-Wanganui region will require a consent but Horizons says that will be granted in all cases.

“We are committed to economic growth in our region while also being aware of the increasing interest and expectations of the public on environmental issues,” council chairman Bruce Gordon said.

“The decision (the) council has made today means that all farmers have the security to keep on farming as they will be given a consent while they make the changes on farm to reduce nitrogen entering waterways.”

All intensive farming operations in affected catchments will be given a consent. The length will vary depending on the ability of the consent holder to reduce their nitrogen losses.

A farm meeting the nitrogen targets set out in the One Plan will get a consent of between 20 and 25 years.

A farm that can achieve a trajectory of nitrogen reduction chosen by the farmer for their particular farm or has low nitrogen leaching or has already reduced leaching on farm will get a consent for 15 to 20 years.

Farmers able to reduce nitrogen leaching but identify no nitrogen mitigation beyond their supply agreements, will be referred to work with the industry over a consent term of three to five years to identify mitigation measures they can employ when they get reconsented.

All affected farms will be required to produce a nutrient management plan.

“Farmers have done a huge amount in the past decade to reduce their impact in our region,” Gordon said.

“Where we once had around 900 dairy sheds discharging effluent to waterways we now have none.”

Gordon said the council will continue to work with the industry to implement the plan in a sensible and practical manner that supports landowners making the necessary changes.

“The One Plan is not the only initiative underway to generate improvements. Industry-led programmes such as the Dairy Accord are also tackling these issues.

“We will be carrying out regular monitoring both of the implementation and its achievability as well as annual water quality monitoring to ensure that we are making incremental gains in the state of our rivers’ quality,” he said.

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