Regional Council outlines land use policy

Press Release – Bay of Plenty Regional Council

Bay of Plenty Regional Council has announced where it stands on land management and land use change in the Lake Rotorua catchment to improve the health of the lake.Regional Council outlines land use policy

For immediate release: 21 October 2011 DRAFT

Bay of Plenty Regional Council has announced where it stands on land management and land use change in the Lake Rotorua catchment to improve the health of the lake.

Lake Rotorua has degraded water quality because of high nitrogen and phosphorous levels, and a target Trophic Level Index – the measure of lake water quality – of 4.2 is set for the lake. To achieve this, a decrease of up to 320 tonnes of nitrogen each year is needed from the current load of 755 tonnes of nitrogen a year.

This week’s Regional Council Strategic Policy and Planning Committee heard that changes in land use and the way activities on land were managed could achieve the decreases in nitrogen required to improve lake health.

Pastoral land use around the lake is a significant source of nitrogen (about 70 percent) flowing into the lake.

The policy positions set out the Regional Council’s strategic intent for land management and land use change in the catchment. They clearly identify the role and direction that the Council intends to take to achieve water quality targets for Lake Rotorua.

Key elements of the policy positions include:

• Recognition that land management changes alone will not achieve water quality targets for Lake Rotorua,

• Acceptance that the Council has an obligation to consider land use changes to reduce nitrogen loads to the lake long-term and

• Prioritising of Council resources towards making land use change over actions to make land management changes in the catchment.

Group Manager Land Management Warwick Murray said the policy positions were high-level statements of intent only.

“They identify where the Council stands on land management and land use change at this point in time. The positions do not identify any methods or plan of action to be undertaken. The ways the positions can be implemented will be addressed as a next step, and will involve extensive community discussions and debate,” he said.

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