The Environment Court hearing on Horizons Regional Council’s implementation of intensive farming rules has been set down for February.

The council has joined the declaration proceedings in which the court will rule on the legality of how Horizons has been interpreting nutrient management rules under its One Plan.

Adopted in 2014 after two court hearings, One Plan put limits on nitrogen leaching and required intensive farming operations to have consent.

But in September, Wellington Fish and Game Council and the Environmental Defence Society lodged declaration proceedings in the Environment Court alleging a failure by Horizons to correctly apply the tests for nitrogen leaching when issuing consents.

A Horizons spokesperson said a court hearing had been set down for February and that the council would be acting as a respondent.

It had met with Fish and Game but had “no comment to make on the meeting given that we are in a court process”.

Meanwhile, consents would continue to be issued under One Plan’s nutrient management rules as Horizons was “legally required to”.

At the time the declaration was lodged, EDS chief executive Gary Taylor said: “we are concerned Horizons hasn’t been implementing its regional plan lawfully, particularly when dealing with resource consent applications for intensive farming and dairy conversions”.