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  Council » Policies and Plans » Rules and regulation » Waikato Regional Plan » Waikato Regional Plan (online version) » 6.1 Regional and Local Air Management » 6.1.4 Implementation Methods - Regional and Local Air Management

6.1.4 Implementation Methods - Regional and Local Air Management

6.1.4.1 Ambient Air Quality Monitoring

Waikato Regional Council will continue to develop and implement a programme to monitor ambient air quality in the Waikato Region. Ambient air quality monitoring will focus on:

  1. further identifying and confirming ambient air quality indicators (including those indicators developed as part of the Ministry for the Environment’s Environmental Indicators Program1),
  2. developing long term trend information,
  3. peak monitoring, to identify levels of contaminants in the air where there is a known impact,
  4. developing regional air quality maps showing areas of varying air quality and air quality characteristics within the Region.

6.1.4.2 Monitoring of Community Perceptions

Waikato Regional Council will, in conjunction with local communities in the Region:

  1. monitor community perceptions about the state of the air resource,
  2. determine the air quality characteristics within their local areas,
  3. monitor community perceptions as to what expectations there are for air quality taking into account the nature of the environment, for example, urban versus rural environment.

6.1.4.3 Investigation and Reporting

Waikato Regional Council will:

  1. develop and implement a regional emission inventory which will identify the scale and distribution of discharges of contaminants to air,
  2. co-ordinate and contribute to research on regional air quality issues and ensure this information is shared between relevant agencies,
  3. report on air quality data collected as part of its ambient air quality monitoring programme,
  4. undertake a re-assessment of air quality monitoring needs and achievements within four years of this Plan becoming operative.

6.1.4.4 Promotion

Waikato Regional Council will promote to relevant agencies the need for the development of:

  1. national guidelines for sampling, characterising and measuring contaminants,
  2. a national air quality monitoring database,
  3. national ambient air quality indicators,
  4. projects that will help Waikato Regional Council to achieve its functions regarding air quality management.

6.1.4.5 Good Practice

Waikato Regional Council will, in conjunction with industry, relevant organisations or interested parties, provide guidance on good practice techniques for discharging contaminants to air, from:

  1. domestic sources,
  2. intensive indoor farming practices,
  3. other industrial and trade sources, particularly those indicated in the permitted activity categories in this Module.

6.1.4.6 Environmental Education

Waikato Regional Council will provide the information generated from Methods 6.1.4.1 to 6.1.4.5, 6.1.5.1 and 6.1.6.2 to improve the regional community’s understanding of air quality issues within the Region.

6.1.4.7 Part XII RMA Enforcement

Waikato Regional Council may apply for enforcement orders, issue abatement notices and use other enforcement mechanisms in Part XII of the RMA, where an activity has the effects listed in Policy 1 or breaches conditions of rules in the Plan.

 

Explanation and Principal Reasons for Adopting Methods 6.1.4.1 to 6.1.4.7
Methods 6.1.4.1 and 6.1.4.2 cover the range of actions Waikato Regional Council will undertake to gather, monitor and assess information relating to the air resource. These methods will provide a process to ensure that the provisions of the Plan are implemented and that Waikato Regional Council continues to gather information to help understand the state of the resource and the threats to it. This information will aid Waikato Regional Council in the resource management decision-making process set out in Policies 1 to 4 of this Chapter.

Method 6.1.4.3 provides a framework for the development and implementation of an emission inventory to gather and report information on the quantity of contaminants being released to the atmosphere for a defined area. When this information is combined with meteorological and ambient air quality monitoring data, it can be used to predict the effects of changing the emissions in the defined area2. Emission inventories are one of the cornerstones of the process for preventing the deterioration of, and improving, the air quality within a regional air shed.

Further information gathering and monitoring of air quality through the life of this Plan is still necessary to:

  1. identify existing ambient air quality and indicate changes in trends over time, and from place to place,
  2. assess more adequately the effects (including cumulative effects) of discharges into air, on human health, the health of flora and fauna and amenity values,
  3. identify significant characteristics of air quality for any given area (refer objectives in Section 6.1.2),
  4. use the information in parts a) to c) to aid in decision-making on resource consents and policy development.

Method 6.1.4.4 provides a means for Waikato Regional Council to use its status and resources to promote ideas and preferred approaches to central government, or other agencies involved in the management of air quality. The provisions in parts 1) to 4) are areas where the Council considers national guidance is necessary to help Waikato Regional Council achieve its functions under the RMA.

Method 6.1.4.5 is an approach to assist Waikato Regional Council and resource users to achieve the objectives of this Plan. One of the key principles in this Module is that if operators adopt ‘good practice’ in relation to their activities, particularly small scale activities, then adverse effects are not likely to occur. This is particularly relevant for those operating under the permitted activity rules provided in this Chapter.

This method is specific about providing guidance on intensive indoor farming operations such as pig and poultry farming. These are industries in the Region that are well established and, depending on the management of the site, are subject to complaints regarding odour and particulate matter. Codes of Practice3 for these industries currently exist and Waikato Regional Council does not wish to repeat guidance already developed within the industry. However, Council can still work with the industry to provide regionally specific guidance. Fundamentally, Waikato Regional Council considers good practice for intensive indoor farming operations to include:

  1. finding a suitable location that has adequate separation distances from other users in the area
  2. finding a site that takes advantages of the meteorological conditions and prevailing winds for dispersing contaminants
  3. having adequate litter/effluent management systems
  4. having a regime of feed management that controls consumption of protein.

Environmental education, as provided for in Method 6.1.4.6, is an effective means of providing resource users and the wider regional community with information and for encouraging changes in people’s behaviour in relation to air quality management. In some cases, environmental education can be more effective than creating and enforcing regulatory rules.

Method 6.1.4.7 provides a signal that when adverse effects do occur that are contrary to the conditions within the rules of this Plan, then Waikato Regional Council will consider initiating enforcement proceedings. Section 17 and Part XII of the RMA can be used to require a person to cease an activity causing adverse effects or prohibit a person from commencing an activity that may result in adverse effects. This method should be read in conjunction with the guidelines for assessment in Chapter 6.4 where processes for considering enforcement for odour and particulate matter are specifically set out in Sections 6.4.1.6 and 6.4.2.5.

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