National Environmental Standards for Air Quality (NES-AQ)

The National Environmental Standards for Air Quality (NES-AQ) are regulations made under the Resource Management Act 1991 which aim to set a guaranteed minimum level of health protection for all New Zealanders.

The NES-AQ is made up of 14 separate but interlinked standards. The 14 standards in the NES-AQ include:

  • seven standards banning activities that discharge significant quantities of dioxins and other toxics into the air
  • five standards for ambient (outdoor) air quality
  • a design standard for new wood burners installed in urban areas
  • a requirement for landfills over 1 million tonnes of refuse to collect greenhouse gas emissions.

Regional councils and unitary authorities are responsible for managing air quality under the Resource Management Act. They are required to identify areas where air quality is likely, or known, to exceed the standards. These areas are known as airsheds.

 Learn more about National Environmental Standards