Call for Environment Southland to take the lead on air quality compliance
Gore district councillors have called on Environment Southland to take the lead to ensure national air quality standards are met in the south.
Southland’s air quality has come under close scrutiny in the count down to the Ministry for the Environment’s deadline for full compliance with the National Environmental Standard of one exceedance a year.
The Gore air shed, which has breached the standard eight times this winter, has until 2016 to comply.
The limit for particle levels (PM10) per cubic metre of air (µg/m3) is 50 µg/m3. The Gore air shed’s maximum reading for its eight breaches was 66 µg/m3.
At this week’s regulatory and planning committee meeting Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks said Environment Southland was keen for local authorities to work collaboratively to comply with the national standard.
However, there was no getting away from the fact this was a regional council issue.
“The responsibility is theirs … they need to lead this quite strongly,” Mr Hicks said.
Councillors agreed, saying they looked forward to Environment Southland showing leadership.
“I don’t want to see the Gore District Council part and parcel of heavy handed restrictions,” Cr Ralph Beale said.
Gore planning consultant Keith Hovell said the Council would be unable to issue a building permit for new homes with open fires from July next year.
There were air quality issues throughout the province, not just in the air sheds, and whatever the answer was, it had to be fair across the region, Mr Hovell said.
Environment Southland would have to change its Regional Air Plan before introducing new restrictions or incentives. That would have to go through public consultation and submissions, and was likely to be a long process, he said.
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