14 Sep 2011

Taupo catchment smallholdings may need resource consent

2:01 pm on 14 September 2011

Owners of some small blocks in the Lake Taupo catchment are facing the prospect of having to join larger landowners in applying for resource consents to continue livestock farming.

Waikato regional council is holding an information meeting next month on 11 October to advise lifestyle block owners on how they might be affected by a rule change to the Variation Five regional plan.

The plan aims to protect water quality in Lake Taupo by capping and reducing the amount of the nitrogen getting into the lake, mainly from pastoral farming on the surrounding land.

Under Variation Five, all Taupo landowners that run a farming operation have six months from July to apply for a resource consent to continue those operations if they decide to farm above the permitted activity levels.

The focus so far has been on assessing nitrogen discharge levels from about 200 larger farming operations and getting them signed up.

But the council's on-farm programme manager, Natasha Hayward, says there are about 1000 smallholdings in the catchment ranging from one to 20 hectares and some of those will also have to go through the process.

The goal of the Lake Taupo protection plan is to lower nitrogen input into the lake by 20% by 2020.