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Addressing farm runoff in the Waikato
Following our legal action in 2005 (see below), Ecologic has been involved in discussions with Federated Farmers and Environment Waikato (EW) about how to make progress on nutrient runoff and related issues. We suggested trialling a Catchment Care approach, based on integrated catchment management (ICM), to get farmers and other stakeholders actively involved in addressing diffuse water pollution.
Ecologic’s legal action on the Waikato Regional Plan
In June 2005, the Environment Court convened to hear Ecologic’s appeal on provisions in the Waikato Regional Plan dealing with water pollution from farm runoff. We were asking for rules that, for sensitive water bodies, would require most farmers to have approved farm plans to address nutrient and sediment runoff.
However, before the hearing, farmers and the regional council agreed on significant new rules on keeping stock out of sensitive water bodies - these are now in place and are helping to protect many waterways, including all river margins within 2 km of the coast. We have also indicated to Environment Waikato and the Court that we believe the council's regional plan provisions are ultra vires (against the law) because they are allowing practices that cause specific standards in the Resource Management Act to be breached. This has led EW to initiate the catchment programmes described above.
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