NES ‘anom­alies’ could ham­per foresters

New Zealand Logger - - Dana Forestry Conference -

A LE­GAL EXPERT HAS WARNED THE FORESTRY IN­DUS­TRY THAT ‘anom­alies’ in the newly an­nounced Na­tional En­vi­ron­men­tal Stan­dards (NES) need to be reme­died be­fore it comes into ef­fect next May.

Chris Fowler, part­ner with en­vi­ron­men­tal law spe­cial­ists, Ad­der­ley Head, told the 2017 DANA Forestry Con­fer­ence in Ro­torua that ar­eas of un­cer­tainty in the new leg­is­la­tion as it stands could af­fect har­vest­ing op­er­a­tions.

Whilst the NES is de­signed to har­monise en­vi­ron­men­tal rules gov­ern­ing forestry op­er­a­tions across the coun­try, some as­pects had not been fi­nalised prior to its an­nounce­ment.

Th­ese in­clude ex­ist­ing river cross­ing cul­verts that would not com­ply with the NES, which were ex­empted in the ear­lier draft but not in the fi­nal doc­u­ment, and Mr Fowler says that means they will need to go through a con­sent process un­less the rul­ing is changed.

“If it isn’t clar­i­fied, it is po­ten­tially a size­able prob­lem for forestry,” adds Mr Fowler.

An­other area of con­cern in the NES is the in­clu­sion of a rule to pro­tect sig­nif­i­cant nat­u­ral ar­eas. This also changed from ear­lier drafts, says Mr Fowler and cre­ates un­cer­tainty be­cause it is not clear where they are.

Forestry op­er­a­tions could also be ham­pered by the sec­tion gov­ern­ing dis­charge of sed­i­ment into wa­ter­ways that must not re­sult in any ‘con­spic­u­ous change’ in colour or vis­ual clar­ity in wa­ter bod­ies, whilst al­low­ing for ‘rea­son­able mix­ing’.

Mr Fowlers say the terms ‘con­spic­u­ous changes’ and ‘rea­son­able mix­ing’ are not de­fined in the NES and that’s for district and re­gional coun­cils to de­ter­mine, which gen­er­ates un­cer­tainty as th­ese def­i­ni­tions could dif­fer from one per­son to an­other.

Mr Fowler says the gov­ern­ment has time to fix th­ese is­sues be­fore the NES comes into ef­fect on May 1, 2018, but the in­dus­try will need to be vig­i­lant in push­ing for clar­i­fi­ca­tion.

NZL

Ex­ist­ing river cross­ings are not cov­ered in the NES.

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