Land & Water Regional Plan to become partly operative

Environment Canterbury announced today that it would make the Land & Water Regional Plan partly operative on 1 September 2015. The plan contains rules to improve water quality throughout Canterbury.

Controls on the leaching of nitrates are set by a plan that covers a wide range of land-use activities with an impact on water quality in both urban and rural areas. 

Environment Canterbury Commissioner Peter Skelton said the effect of making most of the plan’s rules operative was that many of the rules in the Natural Resources Regional Plan would be revoked.

“The parts of the Land & Water Regional Plan that will not yet be made operative are those that are subject to unresolved appeals,” Professor Skelton said.  “Until these appeals are resolved, the relevant parts of the Natural Resources Regional Plan remain operative and the rules in the Decisions version of the proposed Land & Water Regional Plan apply.”

A number of changes flow from Council’s decision to make the plan partly operative. For example, river regional plans for Waimakariri, Opihi, Waitaki, Pareora and Waipara continue in force. Prohibited activity status takes full legal effect for any activity that is classified this way in the plan. Variations to the plan (1 – Selwyn Te Waihora, 2 – Hinds Plains, 3 – South Canterbury Coastal Streams) become plan changes. Plan provisions currently in development (”Omnibus”, Wairewa, Nutrient Management plus Waitaki) will be notified as plan changes 4 to 6 later in the year.

For a fuller description of today’s decision and its consequences, go to

The Land & Water Regional Plan sets the framework to implement community aspirations for water through the Canterbury Water Management Strategy, a community led, collaborative approach to improve water outcomes throughout the region.

As well as addressing water quality and quantity issues, the Land & Water Regional Plan enables earthquake recovery and considers other important issues for Canterbury’s future such as land stability, flood protection and biodiversity.

The rules also cover water quality in urban areas. There are rules to protect the rivers and streams in these areas from pollution from stormwater and wastewater discharges.

Council accepted the Hearing Commissioners’ recommendations on the proposed plan in late 2013. The decisions on the plan were notified in January 2014, at which time the plan, as amended by the decisions, became legally effective, replacing the notified version of the plan.

More information

Angus McLeod, Senior Communications Advisor, Environment Canterbury, 0275 497 691