A breath of fresh air – Government proposes amendments to the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality (NESAQ)

Author:Miss Michelle Mehlhopt
Profession:Wynn Williams Lawyers

The Government announced on Wednesday 26 February that it is consulting on proposed amendments to the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality (NESAQ). The NESAQ is the primary mechanism for regulating air quality at a national level, with standards covering particulate matter and other pollutants.

The aim of the amendments is to better control the release of fine particles into the air. It proposes to do so by:

Amending the standards for ambient particulate matter and burner design in the current NESAQ; and Creating new standards for mercury emissions to air. These standards will help New Zealand meet its obligations under the Minamata Convention on Mercury. Some of the key changes proposed by the amendments include:

Introducing PM2.5 as the primary regulatory tool to manage ambient particulate matter and establish both a daily and an annual standard for PM2.5 (fine particulate matter). Retaining the PM10 standard for managing potential issues for coarse particulates. Amending how we determine if airsheds are polluted. An airshed will be polluted if either daily or annual PM2.5 standards are breached, averaged over the previous 5 years. Declining new consent applications to discharge PM2.5 in a polluted airshed, unless the discharge is...

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