Ravensdown farm environment plan template approved
Environment Canterbury today confirmed Ravensdown’s 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 Ravensdown template made that process a lot easier and exceeded the regulatory requirements of Schedule 7 of the LWRP.
“Like the Farm Environment Plan Assessment Group, I was impressed with the ease of use of the template and its ability to adapt to the specifics of a property, only populating the relevant parts,” Mr Bayfield said.
Ravensdown Business Manager Environmental Mark Fitzpatrick said the digital template constructed in Microsoft Excel format was a precursor to a nationally available online version hosted within the company’s mapping and analytics platform, Hawkeye, and other farm management tools such as agronomy plans.
Identifying and addressing potential environmental effects and risks
“The digital version is tailored to fit a wide range of farm systems and will be used by Ravensdown farm environmental consultants to help farmers prepare their farm environment plan,” Mr Fitzpatrick said. “While regional plan compliance is critical, the team has also developed Biodiversity and Greenhouse Gas guidance within the FEP. It’s all part of enabling smarter farming for a better New Zealand.”
The Land & Water Regional Plan is a primary delivery mechanism of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.
“It is reassuring to see in the Ravensdown template a methodology that will enable the development 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.”
Complying with the Land Water Regional Plan
Under Schedule 7 of the Land & Water Regional Plan, farm environment plans can be prepared either by landowners themselves using guidance in the LWRP or via industry-prepared templates and guidance material.
Minimum content is specified, and all farm environment plans 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, effluent, stock exclusion from waterways, offal pits and farm rubbish pits. Farm environment plans must be auditable.
Schedule 7 of the LWRP is subject to several changes in the Nutrient Management and Waitaki Plan Change (Plan Change 5, currently under appeal) 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.
Ravensdown has included these items in its template, avoiding the need to update the template once Plan Change 5 becomes operative, unless changes are made to the Schedule.