Federated Farmers Feedback on the proposed Outstanding Natural Features and Landscapes in Golden Bay
Why is this topic important to Federated Farmers?
Landscape protection can give rise to regulations that constrain farming activities, including:
- How landscapes are identified: the criteria applied to identify ONFLs are reasonably settled, but it can be applied inconsistently between councils, which may result in large areas of farmland being identified as an ONFL.
- Regulations that are used to protect ONFLs can constrain ordinary farming activities, even when farming is an existing activity on an ONL. Activities such as earthworks, farm tracks, fencing, crop planting/harvesting, construction or maintenance of farm buildings often have greater restrictions imposed on them than areas not identified as an ONFL.
- Broadening of scope beyond section 6(b) is occurring where Councils are endeavouring to extend this same high level of protection to section 7(c) amenity or scenic landscapes. This goes beyond the specific intent of the RMA. These amenity landscapes are largely working rural landscapes occurring as a result of activities you would expect to find in a rural zone and this further tier of regulation is not required.
- Coastal landscapes: farmland bordering the coast is now viewed as being coastal and subject to the Coastal Policy Statement.
What does Federated Farmers want?
- That any classification of working rural land as an ONFL is absolutely necessary, appropriate and consistent with section 6;
- If productive land is identified as an ONFL, that primary production is acknowledged as a value and normal farming and production activities should be able to continue as permitted without undue hindrance by regulation;
- Certainty for landowners: as to where the protected landscapes are; why they have been classified; and how the regulations are applied on the ground;
- Consultation that engages landowners with councils and enables negotiation around appropriate landscape boundaries and controls;
- That amenity type landscapes do not require specific additional levels of protection and should not be included in Plans.