District Plan to help manage carbon farming
Council is looking at how the existing District Plan forestry planting restrictions may be used to help mitigate against the adverse effects of carbon farming.
Chief Executive Clive Manley said that while offering environmental benefits, how carbon farming can currently be practiced is presenting unanticipated threats to productive farmland and the communities this supports.
"Council is looking to utilize all the tools we have available tools to us to address carbon farming challenges and provide a level of protection for our rural communities," he said.
"Although the current District Plan was developed prior to the emergence of carbon farming practices it may offer some protection options in some circumstances.
There are several prohibited circumstances for forestry planting which could be of value in helping manage the loss of productive farmland to trees. These include:
- Separation from Urban Zone: Prohibiting forestry planting within 75m of any Residential Zone or 45m of any Urban Settlement Zone, to safeguard the well-being of urban areas.
- Separation from Adjoining Property: Prohibiting forestry planting within 25m of the northern boundary of properties used for pastoral farming or horticulture, unless certain criteria related to boundary orientation, topography, and shading are met.
- Separation from Boundaries: Prohibiting forestry planting within 10m of other boundaries, excluding State Highways and local roads, owned or administered by separate individuals or organizations.
- Separation from Roads: Prohibiting vegetation growth that shades road carriageways between 10am and 2pm on the shortest day of the year, with exceptions granted for specific circumstances like topography, private roads, unsealed public roads, or with written consent from the relevant road controlling authority.
- Separation from Existing Dwellings: Prohibiting vegetation growth that shades existing dwellings on separate sites between 9.30am and 3pm on the shortest day of the year.
While the current District Plan presents limitations, we will explore every available means to have more effective control over negative carbon farming practices,” he said.