Have you fenced your waterways?

Publish Date : 02 Dec 2021
Waterway planting

Water quality in our rivers and streams is important to our communities, economy and environment.

On 16 November, the Auckland Unitary Plan rules requiring livestock on many rural properties, to be kept out of streams, rivers, wetlands and lakes in the Auckland region came into effect, five years after the Unitary Plan became operative.

Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore says, “If you haven’t already started fencing your waterways, then it’s time to start.

“There’s been a five-year notice period where landowners have had the opportunity to take in and understand the new rules within the plan.
“And there are more rules coming into play in another couple of years. So, it’s time to think ahead and start planning to comply with those rules now.

“We know that by fencing our waterways and excluding stock, we make an important contribution to the improvement of water quality.

“We encourage all rural landowners to become familiar with what is required.”

The Essential Freshwater Package released by the Ministry for the Environment in 2020 also introduced stock exclusion regulations which have different requirements to the Unitary Plan. These regulations will come into force in 2023.

James Hassall. General Manager Licensing and Regulatory Compliance says, “We understand this is a complicated issue.

“Although landowners have had five years already to comply, we’re not going to immediately reach for the enforcement book. What we will do is educate and support them to understand the rules and give them a period of time to take action.

“That’s why we ask rural landowners to take an interest and become familiar with their statutory obligations and if necessary, get in touch with us for assistance with interpreting the rules and regulations.”

It is important for landowners, farmers and lifestylers, to check the council’s website to see how these Unitary Plan rules apply to their property.  We encourage them to plan and start planting and fencing the waterways on their properties to make sure they comply with the stricter rules and requirements now in place and prepare for further rules in 2023.

To see how these rules may affect you, refer to the council’s website here for more information.

Check the council’s Regional Waterways Protection Fund to find out if you are eligible to apply for funds to help you comply with the new rules and regulations.

For links to relevant Government documents, check here.

For those who wish to get more specific information from council staff they can contact the council at monitoring@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

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