Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Have your say on slopes

Neal Wallace
Govt seeks more input on changes to Essential Freshwater reforms.
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The government is for a third time seeking input into changes to Essential Freshwater reforms, this time to do with the slope maps used to determine stock exclusion.

The reforms were introduced in 2020 but last year the maps were revised to improve how low-slope land is identified.

Today it has announced further potential changes to exempt low-intensity farming, to ensure the maps cover the slopes and farm types intended.

The regulations as they stand require stock to be excluded from specified wetlands, lakes and rivers more than 1m wide.

Dairy cattle and pigs must be excluded from water bodies regardless of the terrain and in general beef cattle and deer must be excluded from the water bodies only on mapped low-slope land. 

There are also controls on stock crossing rivers or lakes.

The initial regulations based on slope maps were considered inaccurate and unintentionally captured land and farm livestock intensity that should not have been included.

In 2021 these maps were revised using new methodology calculated, using local terrain averaging that no long averaged slopes over a land parcel.

It also introduced a 500m altitude threshold for which the regulations do not apply.

Now it wants to have another look to ensure land that should not be included in these regulations, is not.

“While these changes have improved the map, we know it could still be capturing areas of lower intensity farming, that is, at lower altitudes and slopes,” a Ministry for the Environment discussion document states.

Submissions can be lodged with the ministry and close at 5pm on July 16.

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