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Airshed Extension in Rotorua to help protect improved air quality

The Rotorua Airshed boundary will be extended from Friday 3 June 2022 to include future residential housing developments in areas next to the existing airshed.

The Ministry for the Environment has granted Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s request for an extension of the airshed. This re-gazetting of the airshed is to avoid future developments next to the current Airshed reducing air quality and undermining years of air quality improvement initiatives. It also sets a clear expectation for the community that everyone needs to play their part to ensure air quality is improved in Rotorua.

Rotorua has historically had some of New Zealand's worst wintertime air quality, largely due to smoke from domestic home heating. Regional Council and the community have worked hard to phase out old, inefficient solid fuel burners, and have seen notable air quality improvements.

Regional Council Policy and Planning Manager, Julie Bevan, says this airshed extension is a positive move towards protecting air quality in Rotorua.

“We really appreciate the community’s significant efforts to improve air quality over the past 15 years. This airshed extension will help to protect Rotorua’s air as the city continues to expand.

We need to keep working to reduce air pollution and improve air quality so that we can protect the health and wellbeing of our community,” Ms Bevan said.

The current rules are not changing, they will just apply to more properties. On top of ensuring that additional particulate matter from smoke is not added to Airshed, this will also ensure certainty, consistency, and fairness for developments across Rotorua City.

The National Environmental Standards for Air Quality were introduced in New Zealand in 2004. These standards provide a level of protection for the health of New Zealanders and our natural environment. Regional Council has a responsibility to ensure that the Bay of Plenty meets these standards.

The National Environmental Standards for Air Quality are also in the process of being amended by Central Government and extending the Airshed is good first step in preparation for the more stringent regulations that are proposed, and the air quality targets that we will need to meet in future. 

For more information on the Rotorua airshed, please visit www.boprc.govt.nz/environment/air/airshed

Rotorua Airshed Boundary Extension from 3 June 2022.

For further media information, please contact media@boprc.govt.nz