Environment Court releases second interim plan decision
A second interim decision on the proposed Southland Water and Land Plan has been received from the Environment Court.
Judge Jane Borthwick, two commissioners (Glenice Paine and Ruth Bartlett) and a special advisor (Russell Howie) have been hearing the appeals to Topic A (the objectives and physiographic zone policies).
The decision followed three days of hearings in Christchurch on 15-17 June. The court primarily heard submissions on Objectives 1 and 3 of the proposed plan.
This is a further interim decision, which resolves appeals on Objective 1 and 3, and provides direction for the next part of the plan appeals. The Court’s decision clarifies the interpretation of the two objectives (while reordering them to be Objectives 1 and 2).
Final decisions on the plan will not be made until the remainder of the appeal topics have been heard.
Environment Southland’s director of policy, planning and regulatory services Vin Smith said staff and the appeals team will be taking time to carefully consider the findings that have been made.
“It is anticipated that the remaining live appeal points in Topic A will be resolved by a combination of expert witness conferencing, by submissions and mediation between the parties and an additional hearing if required.”
“We look forward to working with all parties to finalise all objectives and policies of the plan over the coming months,” Vin said.
The interim decisions and all documents relating to the appeals are available here: www.es.govt.nz/waterandland.
The proposed Southland Water and Land Plan seeks to address activities that are known to have a significant effect on water quality, such as land use intensification, urban discharges, winter grazing and stock access to waterways.
This plan is the foundation document for the ongoing work to address our communities’ values and aspirations for water, and ultimately set limits and meet our obligations under the National Policy Statement for Freshwater. This work is being done as part of the People, Water and Land programme.