Tasman clears the air

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Tasman is quite literally clearing the air in an effort to stop air pollution breaches.

The Tasman District Council has announced that the district has met the Government’s 2016 deadline for reducing air pollution and is on track to meet even stricter air quality standards by 2020.

Last year air pollution in Richmond breached the National Environmental Standard for Air Quality on three occasions.

Environment and Planning Committee chairman Stuart Bryant says the Council had met the Government deadline of 2016 for reducing air pollution, which allows three breaches of the national standard a year.

“Richmond’s air quality has been steadily improving since 2003 and we’re on track to meet the even stricter 2020 deadline. From then on, we won’t be allowed to breach the air quality standard more than once a year. During a normal winter we should be able to meet that – although exceptionally cold, still winters may pose a challenge.”

In 2000, the air quality standard was breached 45 times in Richmond and the highest pollution reading that year reached 111 micrograms of pollution particles (PM10) per cubic metre of air. Last year the maximum hit 57. The national standard for PM10 is 50.

Stuart says the main contributors to air pollution are the wood fires used to heat homes in winter.

“As well as the rules we have in place for the installation of woodburners in Richmond, we’ve been educating homeowners about how to make sure their fireplaces are operating well, and the importance of the supply and use of good, dry firewood.”

“Those efforts, combined with policing complaints about smoky chimneys, is making a real difference as Richmond’s air quality was once very poor and has improved immensely,” says Stuart.