Environment Canterbury has published submissions on proposed Plan Change 7 to the Land & Water Regional Plan.
Planning Manager Andrew Parrish said the number received – 556 (plus 28 for the related Plan Change 2 to the Waimakariri River Regional Plan) – was well ahead of any previous Canterbury plan change, as well as the original Land & Water Regional Plan.
“This shows how much interest there is in important freshwater provisions for the region,” he said. “It is now up to the independent hearing panel to work through the submissions and hear evidence from those who wish to be heard.”
What happens next?
A “summary of decisions requested” will be prepared by Environment Canterbury and publicly notified for further submissions (only from those who originally submitted) later this year.
Following this, a public hearing of submissions and evidence will happen. The hearing is likely to be held during the first half of 2020.
The independent hearing panel will prepare a set of recommendations for Environment Canterbury to consider and potentially adopt as its decision.
Proposed Plan Change 7 to the Land & Water Regional Plan, the last to be notified with the Environment Canterbury Act still in place, is in three parts.
Part A applies region wide and aims to:
• Improve freshwater outcomes for Canterbury
• Protect habitats of indigenous freshwater species
• Enable consideration of Ngāi Tahu values in relation to a broader range of activities
• Provide the use of managed aquifer recharge (a technique to improve the volume and quality of groundwater) across the region
• Establish a new nutrient framework for commercial vegetable growing operations
• Implement recommendations from the Hinds Drains Working Party.
Parts B and C relate to the Orari Temuka Opihi Pareora (OTOP) and Waimakariri sub-regions respectively. These parts have been developed in collaboration with the Waimakariri and OTOP Zone Committees, and implement recommendations in their Zone Implementation Programme Addenda (ZIPAs).
Key changes introduced by Parts B and C include:
• New water quality limits for groundwater and surface water
• Requirements for farms to further reduce nitrogen losses over time
• Increases to minimum flows for rivers and streams
• A cap on the volume of water available for allocation
• Requirements to exclude stock from a wider range of waterbodies.