7 Oct 2010

Temporary agreement over scrub clearance rules

1:03 pm on 7 October 2010

Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council has reached an agreement with hill country farmers over scrub-clearing rules.

But it's a temporary arrangement for the next six to eight months that will change when a new resource management plan, known as the One Plan, takes effect for the region.

Rules covering vegetation clearance became an issue last year, when the council notified farmers and contractors that they would need resource consents to carry out scrub spraying over any area greater than two hectares.

The Ruapehu Federated Farmers president, Lyn Neeson, says confusion arose because the notice left out the qualification that the restriction applied to two hectares of contiguous scrub and not patches of vegetation.

She says what happens after this season is still up in the air.

Scrub clearing rules have been tightened under the One Plan.

But Ms Neeson says that and other aspects of the plan are likely to be challenged in the Environment Court.

She says farmers have until the middle of next month to appeal, but she expects it to be well into next year before appeals are heard.