Water and land plan discussed

Environment Southland consents team leader Joanna Gilroy describes some of the key changes to Southland's Water and Land Plan at a public meeting in Winton. Photo: Nicole Sharp
Environment Southland consents team leader Joanna Gilroy describes some of the key changes to Southland's Water and Land Plan at a public meeting in Winton. Photo: Nicole Sharp
Farmers got the chance to question Environment Southland representatives about the Southland Water and Land Plan at a public meeting in Winton recently.

ES chairman Nicol Horrell opened proceedings, saying while the council understood some people might still not be happy, most would agree the plan had considerably improved through the process.

Now the plan had been notified, Environment Southland continued to work alongside its partners, Southland landholders, businesses and others for the sustainable future for Southland, Mr Horrell said.

Environment Southland consents team leader Joanna Gilroy talked about some of the key changes in the plan which would affect farmers.

One of the biggest was the removal of physiographic zones from the plan. However, they were still a part of policies and also in Appendix N.

There had been the addition of policy 12A - improved physiographic zone information - which meant if landholders disagreed with their classification, they could challenge it, she said.

''That's going to be really important if you are looking for a consent in terms of increasing your cow numbers or establishing a new dairy farm or intensive winter grazing.''

Policy 16 - farming activities which affect water quality - was another important one for farmers. It covered minimising adverse environmental effects on waterways, Ms Gilroy said.

She highlighted the changes to intensive winter grazing to 15% of the landholding or 100ha, whichever was the lesser.

Cultivation was another one, along with the need for farm environmental management plans.

''There's now a greater focus on actions, rather than the written plan. So ... [it is what] people are going to be doing day to day that will make a difference and [the plan] is more focused on the contaminant pathways.''

She also covered changes to stock exclusion, feed pads and effluent storage rules.

Questions were raised from the floor regarding Farm Environmental Management plans and whether industry plans would be up to standard, which was acceptable as long as they met the requirements of Appendix N, Ms Gilroy said.

The Southland Water and Land Plan Decisions version is available to view online at www.es.govt.nz.

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