Environment Canterbury today confirmed Amuri Irrigation’s newly developed farm environment plan template meets the requirements of the Canterbury Land & Water Regional Plan (LWRP).
Under the LWRP, all farms requiring a land use consent to farm must produce an environmental plan to support it. Environment Canterbury Chief Executive Bill Bayfield said the AIC template met the criteria of both Schedule 7 of the LWRP and Schedule 2 of the Hurunui Waiau River Regional Plan.
“Like the Farm Environment Plan Assessment Group, I was impressed with the explanation given of how the scheme gives effect to the concept of audited self management,” Mr Bayfield said. “The company is clearly showing the way in making this happen at the property and paddock level, showing what can be achieved when the responsibility and challenge of achieving environmental outcomes is accepted by the scheme.”
AIC Chairman David Croft said the new template allows the company to better manage data and keep farm environment plans (FEPs) updated while building on the experience gained through several years of auditing. “We have 175 FEPs on file including both AIC shareholding and non-shareholding farms covering about 85,000 hectares from Hawarden to Hanmer Springs,” he said.
The Land & Water Regional Plan is a primary delivery mechanism of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.
“It is reassuring to see in the AIC template a methodology that will enable updating of plans and to identify and address actual and potential environmental effects and risks,” Mr Bayfield said.
“We encourage all farmers to prepare farm environment plans, regardless of whether they’re needed by regulation. International markets are increasingly demanding proven sustainability, and farm environment plans are one way to demonstrate this.”
Under Schedule 7 of the LWRP, FEPs can be prepared either by landowners themselves using guidance in the LWRP or via industry-prepared templates and guidance material.
A minimum content is required, and all FEPs must include an assessment of the risks associated with the farming activities and how those risks will be managed. This includes irrigation, application of nutrients, management of effluent, stock exclusion from waterways, offal pits and farm rubbish pits. FEPs must be audited at regular intervals by Environment Canterbury-approved auditors.
Schedule 7 of the LWRP is subject to several changes in the Nutrient Management and Waitaki Plan Change (Plan Change 5, soon likely to be made operative) including the addition of matters set out in sub-region plans. These include important things such as identification of further features including flood protection works, public access management of phosphorus risk zones and management of sites with mahinga kai.
AIC has updated its template in anticipation of Plan Change 5, avoiding the need to do so once the plan change becomes operative, unless changes are made to the Schedule.
“The development of the template has been a whole-team effort and reflects the further refinement of the auditing process as well as AIC’s commitment to constant improvement,’ David Croft said.
For more information about the template, contact Alastair Rutherford, Environmental Manager, Amuri Irrigation Company Limited, 021 474 707, firstname.lastname@example.org
For other approved templates, www.ecan.govt.nz/environment-plan
For more information on the Land & Water Regional Plan, www.ecan.govt.nz/lwrp
For more information on the Hurunui Waiau River Regional Plan, www.ecan.govt.nz/hwrrp
Alastair Rutherford, Environmental Manager, Amuri Irrigation Company, 021 474 707
Angus McLeod, Senior Communications Advisor, Environment Canterbury, 0275 497 691