3. Air

Air pollution.

Summary

RPS Objectives

· The sustainable management of the air resource by avoiding, remedying or mitigating adverse effects on the environment from the discharge of contaminants to air.

· The reduction of the region's discharges of ozone-depleting substances and the net emissions of greenhouse gases in line with National Policy Statements.

Pressures

· Transport emissions contribute up to 50% of particulates that can be inhaled in urban areas and up to 20% in residential areas.

· In Whangarei City, domestic wood fires contribute up to 50% of air pollution in urban areas and up to 70% in residential areas.

· The number of burning and smoke nuisance incidents has increased from 2003 to 2006 as a result of inappropriate burning in backyards.

· There is an increasing trend in the number of air-related environmental incidents, partly linked to decreased public tolerance of poor air quality. These are predominantly nuisance incidents, such as dust, smoke and odour incidents.

State

· Some areas in Northland can have poor air quality, especially during winter months. In winter there are periods of cold, calm weather when pollutants can build up to levels that may affect human health.

· Whangarei City is the most likely area to have air pollution episodes during winter. Air quality around busy roads can be degraded by pollutants emitted from motor vehicles.

· Of the two sites monitored for particulate matter (PM10) in 2006, the National Environmental Standard of 50 mg/m3 was exceeded only once at the Robert Street site in Whangarei.

· Carbon monoxide levels exceeded the eight-hour National Environmental Standard of 10 μg/m3 on three occasions during August 1996 at Bank Street in Whangarei.

· Sulphur dioxide levels have remained below the New Zealand ambient air quality guideline of 120 μg/m3 for all three sites at Whangarei Heads for the last three years.

Doing well

· Northland has no large scale or long term air quality problems.

· Up to 2007 all consents and environmental incidents have been monitored as required.

· Over the last five years air quality problems and incidents associated with industrial discharges have substantially reduced and industry compliance with resource consents conditions in good.

Areas for improvement

· The number of nuisance air-related incidents has increased significantly indicating a need to improve the management of potential sources of offensive and objectionable smoke, dust and odour incidents.

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Published: 03 Apr 2008