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Discharges to air

Discharges to air

Updated 1 June 2022 4:47pm

The Regional Air Quality Management Plan and Proposed Natural Resources Plan contain rules around discharging contaminants into the air. The regional plans implement section 15 of the Resource Management Act 1991 and the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality regulations that were passed in 2004.

Where the permitted activity rules set out in the regional plans cannot be met, a resource consent is needed for the discharge to air. Air discharge consents may be needed in industries such as:

  • Abrasive blasting and spray painting
  • Agrichemical spraying
  • Crematoria
  • Dust-generating operations such as quarrying and bulk earthworks
  • Intensive livestock farming
  • Manufacturing processes, such as chemical and concrete manufacturing
  • Rendering animal products

Key pollutants of concern include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, and any other hazardous air pollutants. Odour may also be a concern in some instances.


Application process

Read about the resource consent application process.

The relevant form is application form 5a.


Meteorological datasets for dispersion modelling

Consent applicants may be required to undertake dispersion modelling of their proposed emissions as part of an Assessment of Environmental Effects submitted with a consent application. Dispersion modelling is used to predict the spatial extent and magnitude of ground level concentrations of air pollutants due to the discharge of emissions from an industrial process.

Meteorological data is a component of dispersion modelling. Greater Wellington Regional Council holds meteorological datasets for nine domains in the Wellington region. These are CALMET files which are suitable for CALPUFF dispersion modelling.

Request a copy of the dataset that is relevant to your location, along with a user guide for the datasets.


Guidance documents

The following Ministry for the Environment documents provide some helpful guidance for air discharge consent applicants:


Air Quality Monitoring Programme

Greater Wellington Regional Council measures key air pollutants at a number of monitoring sites in the region. Find out more about this programme and its results.