Environment Canterbury farm environment plan template approved

Environment Canterbury has its own farm environment plan template meets the requirements of the Canterbury Land & Water Regional Plan (LWRP), as modified by the Nutrient Management and Waitaki Plan Change (Plan Change 5). Plan Change 5 is yet to be made operative.

Environment Canterbury Chief Executive Bill Bayfield said the regional council had identified a gap which it had sought to fill in order to help farmers with their farm environment plans over the transitional period.

“This template will give farmers assurance that their farm environment plans will continue to be accepted when they apply for land use consent to farm,” Mr Bayfield said. “We encourage them to keep applying using this template if the farm environment plan they would otherwise have used is yet to be updated to cover the revised Schedule 7 of the LWRP.

“The templates we have approved most recently have taken Plan Change 5 into account. If farmers are unsure whether their plan meets the new criteria, they should talk to their industry group or advisor, or contact Environment Canterbury.”

The Environment Canterbury template is available at canterburywater.farm/fep.

“We encourage all farmers to prepare farm environment plans, regardless of whether they’re needed by regulation,” Mr Bayfield said. “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.

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