Reporting back

Land-use consent to farm

Date: 01 July 2018
Reporting Frequency: Annually
Category: Freshwater Management


1,400 farms have a land-use consent-to-farm.


  • 53% have a land-use consent-to-farm.
  • 13% have lodged a land-use consent-to-farm application for processing. 
  • 66% of the farms than need a land-use consent to farm have either been granted consent or have applied for consent.

About this goal

Around 1,400 farms are required to have a land-use consent-to-farm under the existing rules in the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan because their activities pose a high environmental risk.   

Why does it matter?

A land-use consent-to-farm, which requires a Farm Environment Plan, is designed to manage farming activities that pose a high risk to the environment, such as farms with more than 50 hectares of irrigation or with winter grazing operations.

A land-use consent-to-farm sets nitrogen loss limits and requires, via a Farm Environment Plan, the implementation of good management practices which are key to maintaining and improving the water quality of rivers, streams, wetlands, lakes, estuaries and groundwater throughout Canterbury.

What's being done?

We have prioritised groups of farms based on their environment risk. Starting in early 2017 we began making contact with farmers to update them of the land-use consent-to-farm requirements for their property and provide advice if they needed to apply for a consent.

We estimate there are around 1,400 farms which will need a land-use consent to farm although there may be some farmers (in lower risk groups) we have yet to make contact with.

Our priority groups for making contact:

  • From January 2017 - 23 farms in the sensitive lake areas (high country)
  • From May 2017 - nearly 1,100 Canterbury farms with more than 50ha of irrigation
  • From November 2017 - 320 farms in the South Coastal Canterbury Stream area
  • From April 2018 - 451 farms in Hinds and Selwyn areas with less than 50ha of irrigation.

What we found

The graph below shows the progress being made by farmers who need to apply for a land-use consent-to-farm.

Note that it does not include the many farmers who we have contacted but were assessed as not needing a land-use consent-to-farm for their property. That group is covered under Permitted Activity rules and must avoid or minimise any environmental effects as required under the Resource Management Act.

The graph below shows the progress being made, with 100% of consents in place for the first priority group (sensitive lakes), 72% of consents in place for farms with more than 50ha of irrigation, and lower rates for the more recently targeted groups.

It shows that it takes time for farmers to understand what they need to do, go through the process of applying for, and being granted a land-use consent-to-farm, which also requires the preparation of a farm environment plan.

Find out more

Find out about FEP audit requirements.

Visit Farmers' hub for more information for farmers.

Find out how ratepayer funding supports this work with our Rates Tool.


Back    Top