Council ordered to change water quality plan

The Otago Regional Council has been directed by a judge to amend its proposed plan change regarding water quality.

Twenty one appeals were lodged with the Environment Court by companies, individuals and other district councils on Plan Change 6A on the Regional Plan: Water for Otago.

An Environment Court judge allowed the appeals and directed the Otago Regional Council to amend it.

Otago Regional Council director of policy, planning and resource management Fraser McRae said one of the main changes was the level of nitrogen leaching rate in the catchments for lakes Wanaka, Wakatipu and Hawea, which lifted from 10kg to 15kg of nitrogen a hectare a year.

In March 2012 the council called for submissions on the proposed plan change. A hearing was held and decisions made, he said.

Appeals were then submitted to the Environment Court.

Later, the council went into mediation with the appellants and agreements were reached. The agreement was sent to the Environment Court, which was agreed to and sent back without a hearing, Mr McRae said.

The council agreed with the changes, which provided certainty and clarity around the original proposed rules, Mr McRae said.

The council planned to implement the changes and was preparing to getting out into the rural community and talk to farmers about how they could comply with the changes.

The council would also continue its science research programme to support it. 


The Southland Times