A controversial plan to improve water quality in Lake Rotorua is heading to mediation after four appeals were lodged with the Environment Court.

But whether the appeals against Plan Change 10 (PC10) will require a court hearing is yet to be determined.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council's plan change would introduce rules for rural properties in the Lake Rotorua Catchment, to limit the amount of nitrogen entering Lake Rotorua from land use.

To meet water quality standards set by the community, nitrogen entering the lake must reduce by 320 tonnes by 2032. Less than half of that, 140 tonnes, will come from these proposed rules, where landowners will need to make changes to their land use.

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Regional council chief executive Mary-Anne Macleod previously said PC10 was "necessary", while Federated Farmers has called it "flawed and risky".

More than 50 submissions were initially received on the plan change.

Four appeals have been lodged by CNI Iwi Land Management Limited, the Maori Trustee, Ngati Uenukukopako Iwi Trust, and Federated Farmers.

Each appeal includes several parties who wish to be part of the proceedings.

Concerns have been raised about the impact of the changes on the rural community.

In its appeal, Federated Farmers said PC10 could come at "unnecessary and irreversable cost" to the Rotorua economy.

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It also expressed concern about a "lack of consultation and community involvement".

In its appeal, Ngati Uenukukopako Iwi Trust believed there had been inadequate consideration of the effects on Maori cultural values.

It also "remains concerned that the amended provisions will be applied to assist and justify Rotorua Lakes Council's future application to authorise discharges of wastewater to Lake Rotorua".

A regional council spokeswoman confirmed the first mediation would happen on February 8 and 9, with all parties required to attend.

"At this stage the need for an Environment Court hearing is unknown, it depends on the outcome of the mediation.

"There are examples in our lakes work where we haven't needed to have an Environment Court hearing, e.g. for the Regional Policy Statement where the nitrogen target for Lake Rotorua was set by agreement by all parties."

The council had no further comment on the appeals, she said.