| Latest Rural News | Monday February 18 2013 8:49
An agreement between the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Federated Farmers on how to clean up Lake Rotorua is being described as very positive.
The agreement, which aims to slash nitrogen levels over the first 10 years, is being signed today.
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council wants nitrogen levels going into the lake slashed - it was taken to court by Federated Farmers, which says the figures the council was aiming for were too hard to achieve without job losses and harm to the local economy.
After local MP Todd McClay intervened, a compromise has been reached.
The deal falls short of what the Lakes Water Quality Society had wanted, and farmers still say it will hurt their community.
But environmentalists say it will be a turning point for restoring the lake's health.
Federated Farmers Rotorua-Taupo provincial president Neil Heather says the two parties have been at loggerheads for over 10 years.
He says they can now move forward.
"The fact is, we've been at loggerheads with the council for over ten years now.
"We can achieve what we want, which is a clean lake, without all the farmers going broke," he says.
However, Neil Heather says it's going to be quite difficult for farmers financially and the exact costs aren't yet known.
Photo: Federated Farmers provincial president Neil Heather and MP Todd McClay, on the heights of Mr Heather's farm overlooking Lake Rotorua (NZ Herald)