Tuesday, 11 October 2016 06:55

Narrow win for rivers plan

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‘Healthy Rivers: Plan for Change/Wai Ora: He Rautaki Whakapaipai’ project’s proposed plan change is now due to be formally publicly notified this month. ‘Healthy Rivers: Plan for Change/Wai Ora: He Rautaki Whakapaipai’ project’s proposed plan change is now due to be formally publicly notified this month.

A plan change proposal aimed at restoring and protecting the Waikato and Waipa rivers has been narrowly approved by Waikato Regional Council for public notification.

Councillors were split 7-7 on a motion to approve; the measure was passed on the casting vote of the chairperson Paula Southgate.

It means the ‘Healthy Rivers: Plan for Change/Wai Ora: He Rautaki Whakapaipai’ project’s proposed plan change is now due to be formally publicly notified this month.

Specific ideas for boosting river health, as suggested in the proposed plan change, include:

- getting more stock out of waterways

- new resource consent requirements (publicly notified) and introducing extra restrictions for land use intensification

- additional requirements for forestry harvesting

- management of direct discharges to the rivers

- targeting particular catchments for special attention

- nitrogen discharge benchmarking and requirements for high emitters to reduce discharges

- requirements for greater planning of land use activities.

Council chief executive Vaughan Payne acknowledges that suggested new land use restrictions – which would make it harder for people to more intensively farm land – had caused concerns, as will their taking effect as soon as the plan is publicly notified.

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