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Compliance team focus on education and support during busy 2018-19 year

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Environment Southland has invested significant time and effort helping educate and support consent holders around responsibilities during the 2018-19 year, Regulatory Committee chairman Neville Cook says.

The 2018/19 Compliance Monitoring Report summarises the activities of Environment Southland’s compliance monitoring, enforcement and technical teams.

The dairy sector was continuing to make good progress in relation to compliance - with serious non-compliance at a similarly low level to the previous year. The rate of significant non-compliance was 1.8%, down very slightly from 1.9% the previous year.

In Southland, all dairy farms are inspected, some more than once in a given year.

"People are conscious of their responsibilities and they are doing something about it," Councillor Cook said.

The approach to compliance is based on the 4E’s (Enable, Encourage, Educate and Enforce), which remain at the heart of what the team do.

Territorial authorites are adjusting to new consent requirements for wastewater and stormwater discharges.

Educating and informing urban residents around their responsibilities towards stormwater and wastewater discharges was a key part of this, Councillor Cook said.

"Our view is that education and support is the best approach to achieve continuous improvement in environmental performance across all sectors, but everyone needs to play their part."

Cr Cook said ongoing efforts to educate people around air quality requirements, particularly smoke and odour issues, was another busy area for compliance and monitoring staff.

The year has been very busy overall with 963 incidents responded to - a similar amount to the previous year, with 961 incidents.

There was again a significant increase in the number of high priority incidents - 660 up from 462 the previous year - this is attributed to more air-related complaints.

The subsequent increase in high priority incidents translates into increased demand on officer time as high priority incidents need to be attended within an hour.

Cr Cook said that with new central government initiatives in the freshwater space, there will be an even stronger focus on environmental compliance and monitoring in coming years.

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