Farm Environment Plans

A Farm Environment Plan (FEP) is a tool which is used to achieve sustainable land use practices in the Wellington Region. We are dedicated to enabling continuous environmental improvement at the farm which is informed by catchment scale objectives and priorities.

FEPs in our region

The first FEPs in our region were produced in the Wairarapa during the 1950s. Initially, these plans aimed to address soil erosion issues on hill country properties in eastern Wairarapa. However, FEPs have evolved over time to help landowners achieve further sustainable land use improvements across the whole of the Wellington Region.

These plans have also been a successful tool to foster a healthy relationship between Greater Wellington and landowners.

Farm planning work in the Wellington region is currently focused on engaging with landowners who have the greatest need in terms of their catchment priorities, identified through our Whaitua process, with an aim to look at implementing Good Management Practices (GMPs).

FEPs can benefit your property and farm by:

  • Aligning your productive system to work best with the environment around you.
  • Increasing sustainability with soil health and water quality.
  • Identifying opportunities to improve on-farm biodiversity.

To find out more about this, get in touch with your Land Management Advisor or contact us at

Freshwater Farm Plans

Freshwater Farm Plans (FW-FP) are a new legal instrument to control the adverse effects of farming on the health of freshwater. FW-FP regulations will come into effect in mid-2022, and will be gradually rolled out across the country.

While they will eventually be required for all farms over 20ha (or 5ha for horticultural farms), the implementation phase is likely to take several years and freshwater farm plans won’t be required everywhere all at once. Until these changes are implemented, we are continuing to provide support and advice with regards to Farm Environment Plans, as we have done in the past.

Central Government have recently gone through a consultation process for FW-FP to develop regulations for them, so they are not required yet. Currently, no one in New Zealand can prepare a certified FW-FP for landowners.

FW-FP will need to comply with regional plan provisions and national legislation. As the requirements evolve, we will continue to clarify how the national regulations interact with our regional plan, and how they will affect you.

FW-FPs will be tailored to each farm, and the catchment it’s located in. Your existing farm plan and work undertaken so far will be integrated where possible, but cannot be certified as a FW-FP in its current format. The extent to which it will need to be changed will depend on your individual farm plan.

We support the introduction of FW-FP, particularly if they are able to facilitate a catchment approach to freshwater management. Not only will FW-FP be a useful tool for landowners to demonstrate how their work aligns with new national regulations, but are also an opportunity to recognise work that has already been done to improve environmental outcomes on-farm.

Good Management Practices

Good Management Practices (GMPs) will help to mitigate known freshwater quality issues in specific catchments.  Identifying and implementing GMPs will be a key part of Freshwater Farm Plans in the future, and will help to introduce landowners to incorporating freshwater values into their work.

This work will also enable landowners to access targeted funding from Greater Wellington to implement these GMPs.

How we can help

Greater Wellington is able to provide landowners with a range of free information about their properties including; aerial photography, soil information, slope and NZ Land Resource Inventory information.

If you want to find out more about protecting environmental values on your farm, get in touch with your Land Management Advisor or contact us at

Updated February 21, 2022 at 1:12 PM

Get in touch

0800 496 734