Excellent progress is being made on the implementation of the Government’s Essential Freshwater package in Taranaki however there is a lot of work ahead, says Taranaki Regional Council chief executive Steve Ruru.
It’s been two months since the first Essential Freshwater regulations came into force, bringing with them significant implications for farmers and rural landowners. In particular, the Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 (NES-F) has widened the range of activities requiring resource consents and tightened restrictions for many activities covered by existing rules.
Mr Ruru says Council staff have been working hard to develop a comprehensive implementation plan. The regulations are wide-reaching and will affect most of the Council’s activities, including policy and planning, consenting and enforcement, land management, monitoring and investigations, and mana whenua engagement.
With more regulations still to come, implementation is an ongoing challenge that will impact how the Council operates and the resources it needs.
But Mr Ruru is confident both the Council and the region’s farmers will rise to the challenge, as they have in the past.
“From the outset our goal has been to implement the new rules in a smart, practical and efficient way and that remains our focus.”
He says the Council has been working closely with mana whenua and primary sector groups. It has also been collaborating where appropriate with other regional councils, who are all working through the same process.
One of the first priorities for Council staff was to compile a set of factsheets on topics relevant to Taranaki farmers. These have been welcomed by the community, Mr Ruru says.
“We put a lot of effort into making them easy to understand and meaningful – that is, what these rule changes mean for farmers and landowners in practical terms.”
The factsheets cover intensive winter grazing [PDF, 388 KB], stock exclusion regulations [PDF, 577 KB], wetlands [PDF, 582 KB], structures in rivers and lakes [PDF, 1.3 MB] (fish passage), feedlots and stockholding areas [PDF, 753 KB] and the application of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser [PDF, 539 KB].
They can be found at www.trc.govt.nz/environment/freshwater/(external link). Hard copies are also available by calling the Council on 0800 736 222, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or can be picked up from the Council offices at 47 Cloten Rd, Stratford.
There is still some uncertainty around the use of farm environmental plans. When more details become available farmers will be provided with appropriate guidance.
Mr Ruru says the Council knows there are a lot of changes for farmers to take in.
“Our staff are here to help. Get in touch with us if you have any questions, big or small. That’s especially important if you are undertaking or planning works in or near waterways – talk to us first and we will help you comply with the new rules.”