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Southland region

Air Quality

Air quality in Southland is variable, with winter causing some high air pollution days, particularly in Invercargill and Gore, much of which can be attributed to smoke from home chimneys.

Southland’s air quality is mostly good, however during winter months and particularly within the Invercargill and Gore airsheds, air pollution can be severe, with exceedances of the national standards for PM10.
Poor air quality in Southland is primarily caused by smoke from home fires, with coal a popular fuel and older housing stocks in many areas.
Environment Southland monitors air quality in Invercargill, Gore and Winton, with Invercargill and Gore being gazetted airsheds.
The review of Southland's Regional Air Plan in 2015 has seen a range of new rules developed, many of which relate directly to home heating within the airsheds. These will phase out the use of non-compliant fires by 2034 and also restrict what can and can't be burnt.
Everybody wants to breathe clean air but due to Southland’s climate, it is a careful balancing act to ensure we don’t replace one health risk (air pollution) with another (cold conditions). This is why a longer phase-out has been adopted and a Clean Air Loans scheme developed to assist people with the change to cleaner heating.

Regional Summary
PM10 at towns in this region

The most significant air pollutant in New Zealand are small airborne particles in our air (known as particulate matter). Particulate pollutants are of most concern in New Zealand because of their high concentrations in some of our towns. Exposure to high levels of airborne particle pollutants has the potential to cause respiratory and cardiovascular issues. View a factsheet on why air quality is important here.

PM10 is primarily a concern in Southland towns during winter when wood and coal is burnt to heat homes. There are sites monitoring PM10 continuously in Invercargill and Gore, while a further site in Winton monitors PM2.5.

  • Annual average
  • Highest daily average



% of guideline

What is this graph showing me?

The graph shows the annual average or highest daily average PM10 concentrations for monitored town(s) in this region for the year selected. The PM10 concentrations are shown against the guidelines for air quality, and where concentrations exceed 100% of the guideline this can be a cause for concern, especially if this occurs on a frequent basis. (For a town that has more than one monitoring site, only one representative site is shown here).

Data table
Towns 10-year Trend annual average (µg/m³) Highest daily average (µg/m³) 2nd highest daily average (µg/m³)

What is this table showing me?

The table shows the annual average, and the dates of the highest and second highest daily average PM10 concentrations for monitored town(s) in the year selected. The 10-year trend indicates, in terms of PM10, whether the air quality has been improving, showing no measurable change, or declining over the last 10 years.

Towns 3

Towns in the Southland region

Select the town you'd like to see information on by clicking the buttons below or navigate using the map.