16 Sep 2015

Proposed forestry rules would fix 'mishmash'

12:19 pm on 16 September 2015
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Photo: 123rf

A forest owners' spokesman says council rules for forestry are a mishmash, which vary from district to district without good cause and are often more stringent for forests than farms on the same country.

Forest Owners Association environmental committee chair Peter Weir said a proposed National Environmental Standard (NES) aimed to straighten out the mess.

Mr Weir said the NES would create one core set of rules nationwide under which councils would able to set consent conditions for harvest and earthworks in areas of high erosion risk.

He says regulations on stream crossings illustrated the inconsistency.

"Different councils have different rules about how big a culvert should be and what sized flood should fit through it and it makes engineering design very difficult. nother one is setback distances from streams - how far should a plantation crop be set back.

"Some councils have no rules and some councils do. We think they have come up with an entirely reasonable rule set.

"Yes its going to lift the bar for some forest owners, but the flip side is it extracts us from the ongoing regional churn of district plan development, because this NES will be the rules nationally, and they won't need to be relitigated periodically across 68 different districts and 16 regions."