Dairy farms in Northland are lifting their environmental performance, with record numbers achieving full compliance.
Northland Regional Council environmental management committee chair Joe Carr said 65 percent of the more than 900 farms inspected over four months from mid-August last year had achieved full compliance, the highest rate ever recorded.
Mr Carr said 13 percent of dairy farms were significantly non-compliant, but that was a big drop from the previous year's 20 percent.
Of the 697 farms with resource consent to discharge farm dairy effluent, 60 percent fully complied, 27 percent had minor compliance issues and 13 percent were significantly non-compliant, he said.
Of the 247 non-consented farms visited over the same period, 77 percent had been fully compliant, five percent had minor compliance issues and 18 percent were significantly non-compliant. That was a marked improvement from 26 percent the previous year.
The overall rate for significant non-compliance for the year was 14 percent compared with 21 percent last year. It was the first time the overall significant non-compliance rates had fallen below 20 percent.
Councillor Carr said that while all stakeholders were striving, there was obviously still room for further improvement.
"However, it's pleasing to see the industry collectively lifting its game and making some real gains in terms of overall compliance and subsequent improvements in water quality."