Greater Wellington urges farmers, landowners and developers to bone up on new regulations

  • Published Date 04 Sep 2020

Regulations that came into force yesterday (3 September 2020) set new directions and standards for freshwater management, and Greater Wellington Regional Council is urging farmers, landowners and developers to familiarise themselves with their new provisions.

The Resource Management (National Environment Standards for Freshwater) Regulations create a consistent national baseline for the regulation of a wide range of activities relating to freshwater management. 

They reflect the Government’s broader freshwater reforms which raises the bar for the sustainable management of all freshwater and, to the extent they are affected by freshwater, estuaries and the coastal marine area. 

The regulations also more clearly set out set out regional councils’ duties for ensuring sustainable freshwater management within their regions. This primarily involves controlling land use to maintain and improve water quality and ecosystems in water bodies and coastal water, maintaining the quantity of water in water bodies and coastal water, controlling the taking, use, damming, and diversion of water and controlling the discharge of contaminants.

“Greater Wellington is broadly supportive of the proposals, believing they will ultimately raise the quality of water and protect aquatic environments for the benefit of everyone. But we also recognise the pressure they may place on rural communities in particular.

“We want to work with rural communities to relieve pressure to the extent we can by providing expert advice and support to people finding their way through the regulations,” says Greater Wellington councillor, Adrienne Staples.

The new rules in force from 3 September focus on wetland protection, barriers to fish passage and farm practices which lead to more intensive land use land. 

“These regulations apply to activities that pose risk to the health of wetlands, create barriers to fish passage and intensive land uses that undermine freshwater and freshwater ecosystems.

“Anyone thinking of carrying out any activity covered by the regulations must comply with clear standards and may require a resource consent.”

New restrictions have been placed on, among other things, construction, maintenance of infrastructure and services and land use in or within 10 metres of wetlands.

Structures that create barriers to fish passage must be identified across the region and new structures must ensure connectivity.

Some controls on land use intensification, such as feedlots and stock water body access exclusion requirements for new farm operations come into force from today (3 September). Others controlling activities such as stock holding and caps on synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, come into force from next year.

“We know that it will take time for farmers, landowners and resource consent applicants involved in urban development to get to grips with the new rules. We therefore encourage them to work with Greater Wellington’s team of Resource Advisors and Land Management Advisors to build a clear understanding of these new requirements and how they apply to their farm system or developments,” says Cr Staples.

Updated November 12, 2020 at 12:28 AM

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