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Variation 5 advice for Taupō small block owners

Advice for small block owners on the implications of Waikato Regional Council’s Variation 5 policy to protect Lake Taupō will be available at an information evening on Tuesday 11 October.

The event, to be held from 5pm-8pm at the TaupōYacht Club, will help individual small block farmers decide how to respond to the potential need to apply for a resource consent under Variation 5, or whether they can simply adjust their operations to carry on their existing farming operation under the permitted activity rule.

Variation 5, designed to protect water quality from the effects of nitrogen leaching from land, means all Taupō landowners that run a farming operation have six months from 7 July 2011 to apply for a resource consent to continue those operations if they decide to farm above the permitted activity levels outlined in the variation.

The council’s on-farm programme manager Natasha Hayward said Variation 5 was formally approved by the Environment Court in June and its implementation was going well overall. However, there were emerging issues over how the rules would affect small block owners who have limited stock numbers and, therefore, minimal nitrogen emissions.

“We recognise the need to work with each individual small block owner to ensure a reasonable and pragmatic way forward, particularly where there are very small numbers of stock involved,” she said.

“Recent deals with larger landowners in the Taupō catchment completed by the Lake Taupō Protection Trust mean that just over 100 tonnes of nitrogen per year will now be prevented from entering the lake. This information evening also gives the opportunity for smaller block holders to consider how they can potentially be involved in the protection of the lake by reducing nitrogen.”

Besides regional council staff being available to work through individual examples, the Lake Taupō Protection Trust’s chief executive Graeme Fleming will attend the information evening to discuss and explore what opportunity there is for individual block owners to enter into nitrogen reduction agreements with the trust. There will also be the opportunity to hear first-hand how other nitrogen reductions have been achieved through mixtures of land change and changes in farm stocking policies.

More information is also available at www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/forfarmers or by calling Waikato Regional Council’s freephone number 0800 800 401.

Further information about the evening will be available in advertisements in the Taupō Times closer to 11 October.

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