Changes to proposed nitrogen rules

Changes to proposed nitrogen rules

10 February 2015

Feedback sought from the public on proposed land use rules to limit nitrogen loss in to Lake Rotorua has lead to recommended changes passed by Bay of Plenty Regional Council Regional Direction and Delivery Committee in December last year. Last week Rotorua Lakes Councillors were presented with the same update on the recommendations at their Strategy, Policy and Finance Committee. The next step would be to present these reports to the Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Programme Strategy Group for endorsement by the programme’s partners in March 2015.

For the initial phase of this rule-setting process the Regional Council sought public input on the proposed rules. There has been high attendance at public information sessions, open days and sector meetings. The Regional Council received more than 330 feedback forms from the public, sector organisations, land block owners and representatives and Maori landowners.

The report to the respective Committees had 11 recommendations, including changing the proposed limits for some properties smaller than 10 hectares, and recommended a delay in the regulatory requirements for properties between 10 and 40 hectares. 

The section32 report now being prepared will define this process, evaluating the risks, costs and benefits of the rules. This report will be completed by March 2015, and any decision on the rules will be delayed until that report has been received and the implications considered.

This will be an incredibly comprehensive report that outlines in plain English the science, social and economic impacts. It also covers small properties, timeframes and the 2022 target, nitrogen allocation and the regulatory focus of achieving a clean Lake Rotorua.

The Regional Direction and Delivery Committee also approved a Landowner Support Framework that focused on additional support for landowners within the Lake Rotorua catchment.

This included a $2.2 million advice and support project to assist landowners individually, establishing a Land Technical Advisory Group to provide an independently robust method for assessing nutrient management solutions and further investigation of alternative low nutrient land use opportunities.

Another $3.3 million has been made available to support landowners to change to lower nitrogen land uses.

See full report on Feedback on rules to manage nitrogen loss in the Lake Rotorua catchment.