Monitoring air quality

It is the role of our regional councils and unitary authorities to monitor air quality in their regions. Find out about the requirements and access regional air quality monitoring data. 

Where air quality is monitored

Regional councils monitor air quality in areas (airsheds) where air quality has or could breach the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality (Air Quality NES).

An Air Quality NES airshed is a geographic area for air quality management. It extends upwards from ground level with no upper limit and includes coastal marine areas.

The geographic boundary of each regional council or unitary authority defines their airshed. However, the local authority may apply to the Minister for the Environment to partition off a part of their region as a separate airshed for air quality management. These sub-airsheds are specified by notice in the Gazette and are commonly known as ‘gazetted airsheds’.

Number and location of airsheds

There are 89 airsheds in New Zealand: 73 gazetted airsheds and 16 airsheds defined by the regional council and unitary authority boundaries.

In most cases, a gazetted airshed is confined to a single urban area but it may also be a combination of towns (eg, the Otago 1 airshed combines Alexandra, Arrowtown, Clyde and Cromwell).

All but one of the gazetted airsheds have the potential to breach the particulate matter (PM10) standard.

The remaining airshed (Marsden Point in Northland) has the potential to breach the sulphur dioxide standard.