Farmers in Taranaki have a handy new aid to help them ensure they stay on top of their environmental responsibilities.
It’s a 32-page booklet outlining the Taranaki Regional Council’s requirements across the broad spectrum of on-farm activities and developments. A copy has been sent to every rural box-holder in the region.
“It’s in plain English and is designed to be farmers’ first port of call for information on their environmental obligations,” says the Council Chairman, David MacLeod.
“It covers everything from dairy effluent and streambank protection to earthworks, fertiliser application and use of sprays. It’s essential reading for those working on the land.”
Mr MacLeod says that by following the requirements, farmers will help to protect and improve Taranaki’s natural resources, particularly its rivers and streams.
“The guide brings together in one place, and in an easy-to-understand format, a lot of the measures we’ve been implementing as a result of all the work and discussion that has gone into the review of the Freshwater Plan,” he says.
“Public notification of a new Plan is still on hold pending further changes to resource management law by central government, and because submitters to the Council had asked for more work to be done. But the guide spells out where we’re already making changes on the ground.
“Sitting around in endless meetings is not the Taranaki way of doing things. The Council is firmly focused on working alongside people to get things happening out in the real world.”
The booklet includes two major priorities for the Council:
- The discharge of farm dairy effluent to land, in most cases. The switch to land-based disposal is occurring as consents expire or earlier. “We’re telling farmers to plan ahead and talk early to Council staff before upgrading or building a new system,” says Mr MacLeod.
- Completion of riparian fencing, including wetlands, and planting by the end of the decade. “Most farmers are on target,” says Mr MacLeod. “But those who haven’t got a Certificate of Completion for their riparian plan by 2020 are highly likely to face costly regulatory requirements — either from this Council or central Government, which is planning new regulations for stock exclusion.”
The booklet is available on the Council website, www.trc.govt.nz.