Bay of Plenty
Water Take Consent Flexibility
Council understands that the deposit fee required to lodge an application to vary consent conditions is a barrier to growers and have agreed to waive the deposit fee for growers who apply for a variation as a group. The group of applications would be processed as a bundle by the Council to reduce overall costs and actual and reasonable costs would be invoiced following completion of the process. Council will waive the costs if the change is simple and results in a significant reduction in allocation and/or the introduction of telemetry and other modern consent requirements.
If you are interested in this process, please register your interest prior to 30 August 2020 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- Your consent number
- The flexibility you are looking for
- Whether you are willing to install or upgrade telemetry (if not currently required by your consent or already in place)
Air Plan (Plan Change 13)
Changes to the agrichemical and open burning rules for the Bay of Plenty have been approved by the Environment Court and are now operative. You can read about the new rules and how they compare with the previous ones here.
Open Burning Rules
From 10 June 2020, open burning rules changed in the Bay of Plenty which means that no land owner or user, urban or rural, can light a fire within 100m of a neighbouring dwelling house. For rural production land, you can apply for resource consent to burn vegetative material within 100m of another dwelling house. However, recreational or cultural fires will still be allowed, for example, braziers, BBQs, pizza ovens, smokers and hangi, provided offensive or dangerous discharges are minimised. More information can be found here.
Water Quantity Plan Change withdrawn
The region wide Water Quantity Proposed Plan Change 9 (PC 9) has been withdrawn by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council (Council). This means PC9 no longer has any legal effect.
PC9 was publicly notified in October 2016 as a first step towards improving the rules around fresh water. Changes within PC9 were developed to replace the existing rules within the operative Regional Natural Resources Plan (RNRP). Proposed changes were primarily concerned with how much surface and groundwater could be taken, proposing stricter limits on takes while also evolving the regulations that govern fresh water use. This was the Council’s approach to start implementing the governments National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS).
On 5 September 2019, the government released their essential freshwater policy for public consultation. The policy sought to halt declining freshwater quality and ecosystem health.
National policy and expectations have therefore evolved since PC9 was notified – particularly in respect of the role tangata whenua should have in fresh water management. The government have has said it will make further decisions on essential freshwater in April 2020 however, until then, Council and water users can only speculate as to the final requirements that will need to be captured in regional policy/plans.
Therefore, on 18 February 2020, Council’s Strategy and Policy Committee decided to withdraw PC9. Resource consents granted under PC9 are still valid and the consent conditions associated with these consents are also valid and must be adhered to.
For growers, this means that the rules under the operative RNRP remain current. Proposed rules under PC9 relating to the registering of permitted takes, changes to permitted take allowances and water metering requirements are therefore on hold however with expectations around water management only increasing under new government policy, growers should not be complacent with their approach to water management. Rules around its availability, efficient use and monitoring requirements will only increase. Ensuring you are measuring your water use through a water meter is your best approach to understanding and optimising your use, provides evidence for GAP requirements and aligns your business with future water management rules that will undeniably be in place in the very near future.
Resource consent is still required for all existing unauthorised water takes and applications will be assessed under the RNRP. Applications to take water from a fully allocated resource will now be processed as a Discretionary Activity as opposed to the ‘generally decline’ clause that PC9 had proposed.
Opotiki District Plan
The Opotiki District Plan will be fully operative by the end of the year. Horticulture NZ has provided an overview of the plan, the proposed rules and how they compare to current rules. You can read about the plan here.