Owners of small blocks of land in the Lake Taupo catchment will be able to tap into public funds to help them get resource consents, if required.
The Lake Taupo Protection Trust has agreed that the public fund it administers to reduce nitrogen leakage from farming into the lake can also be used to fund the benchmarking and nitrogen management plans (NMPs) for properties of less than 20 hectares needing a resource consent under new rules to protect water quality in the lake.
“This decision puts small landowners on a par with large farms which have already had their benchmarking and NMPs for their resource consent application paid for from this fund,” said Waikato Regional Council’s on-farm programme manager Natasha Hayward.
Under Variation 5 to the Waikato Regional Plan, all Taupo landowners with nitrogen leaching activities – both large and small – must now have a resource consent to continue those operations if they farm above the permitted stocking rates outlined in the variation.
For a number of years, the council has worked with the 200 or so larger landowners to help determine their nitrogen discharge allowances (NDAs) and to develop NMPs. This work was paid for from the public fund established for the project, but no decision had been made about whether these costs would be covered for the smaller landowners.
Ms Hayward said the decision would assist small landowners concerned about having to finance benchmarking and NMP work required for their consent applications and could also possibly identify nitrogen reduction opportunities from these blocks.
“These costs were one of the concerns about Variation 5 raised at a recent information evening in Taupo attended by approximately 60 small block holders.
“Now these small block holders can feel more comfortable about entering into the process of looking after the lake with some of their costs reduced by this funding. The benchmarking process is likely to be far simpler and less costly than for the larger farms,” Ms Hayward said.
For more information, contact Natasha Hayward on 0800 800 401 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.