New rules for NZ forestry companies start on 1 May

Friday 20 Apr 2018

 
New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has travelled the length of the country over the past six months hosting workshops for councils and the forestry sector on the new National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry (NES-PF) which come into force on 1 May 2018.

The new nationally consistent regulations replace regional and district council plan provisions for plantation forestry activities. The regulations are based on existing good practice standards for the forestry industry.

The NES-PF covers eight core activities in the life-cycle of a plantation forest. Most forestry activities are permitted by the NES-PF provided foresters meet the permitted activity conditions. If not, they will need to apply to council for a resource consent.

Three risk assessment tools are available to help foresters and councils determine when consents will be needed for forestry activities. These tools identify the risk of wilding conifer spread, erosion, and disturbance to waterways while fish are spawning.

“The workshops provided foresters and council staff with an overview of the NES-PF and information on their responsibilities under the new regulations,” said Oliver Hendrickson, Director Spatial, Forestry and Land Management, MPI. Under the NES-PF plantation foresters will need to familiarise themselves with the requirements for each forestry activity and understand how the three tools apply to their own land.

When required they will need to prepare (and keep records of) a forestry earthworks management plan, harvest plan, and quarry erosion and sediment management plan for submission to council. “The workshops also enabled foresters to discuss any issues they needed further clarification on, which allowed us to streamline and tailor our communications and guidance material to best meet their needs,” he said.

MPI has produced further guidance on the NES-PF which is available for download on the MPI website. Of particular interest to the forestry sector, are the NES-PF User Guide and the Consent and Compliance guide.

“We have met with more than 500 foresters during the NES-PF workshops. The general feeling is that these regulations provide more certainty for the sector, and the long-term benefits for both the environment and forestry sector productivity are welcomed by both the forestry industry and local authorities,” he said.

A second round of workshops will be hosted by MPI and the New Zealand Institute of Forestry next month. The purpose of these workshops is to provide an opportunity to apply the NES-PF in a scenario-based activity, assessing the forestry industries ability to apply and navigate the regulations. For more information on the NES-PF visit: www.mpi.govt.nz.

Source: MPI

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