Significant characteristics of air quality as identified in Table 6-1 are:
No significant adverse effects from individual site sources on the characteristics of air quality beyond property boundary.
Cumulative effects of discharges on ambient air quality do not:
Principal Reasons for Adopting The Objectives
The focus of Objective 1 is on protection, maintaining or enhancing the significant characteristics of air quality rather than air quality per se. Reference to air quality characteristics is appropriate in this context because Waikato Regional Council does not have enough information to formally designate ‘areas of air quality’ that should be protected, maintained or enhanced. To assist resource users, Table 6-1 gives an indication of the significant characteristics of air quality within the Region. However, due to the general lack of information on air quality across the Region, any assessment of environmental effects will need to include a site specific assessment of the characteristics of air quality. Table 6-1 should be used as an initial guide.
The determination of the characteristics in a particular location will require knowledge of the natural/background levels of ambient air quality. Degraded air quality is attributal to both human-generated and natural sources such as volcanic eruptions, geothermal steam and sea spray.
Objective 2 identifies that discharges to air should not have significant adverse effects beyond the boundary of the property on which the discharge is occurring. This Objective is necessary to address recurring issues in the Region associated particularly with odour and particulate matter discharges that are having objectionable effects on neighbours. These effects need to be internalised by the discharger even if that means purchasing buffer zones or re-designing processes to ensure that the Objective can be achieved. Guidelines for the assessment of significant adverse effects from odour and particulate matter are detailed in Sections 6.4.1 and 6.4.2 respectively.
Objective 3 focuses on the cumulative adverse effects that can result from a number of discharges to air in the same general location. While the adverse effects of these discharges individually can be minor, collectively their impact on air quality can be much more significant than a single large point source. For instance, home heating is often the major source of fine particulate pollutants in urban areas. These cumulative adverse effects are much harder to manage and monitor than the effects of large point sources as it is often impossible to attribute the effect to a particular site or activity. Factors that cause or exacerbate cumulative adverse effects on air quality are the location of each discharge, the meteorology and topography of the area, population levels and the number of sources in an area.
This Objective identifies that cumulative effects should not have impacts on significant characteristics of ambient air quality. To assist in the interpretation of part f), air, like other natural and physical resources, is considered by Maori to be taonga, to be valued and used with respect and passed on intact to the next generation. To despoil or diminish the resource is a breach of stewardship or kaitiakitanga. The increasing emission of contaminants into the air has long been a concern for tangata whenua. Identification by tangata whenua of specific areas of interest in regards to air discharges will facilitate a greater awareness of these matters in the management of this resource.