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New, stricter air quality rules for the Mount – Bay of Plenty Regional Council

After a four-year journey through the Environment Court, Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Council is now able to implement stricter air quality rules for the Mount Maunganui industrial area.

The new rules are focused on addressing issues with fine dust, namely from the handling of logs and bulk solid materials such as palm kernel, and those affected will now need resource consent.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council General Manger of Strategy and Science, Namouta Poutasi, says this decision is the hardline we’ve been looking for.

“This is good news for the community as it means sometimes dusty activities like transporting bulk solid material and log handling will now be controlled through the resource consent process. Those wanting to carry out these activities will now need to show how they will manage any negative effect on air quality,” she says.

The Environment Court began processing appeals by impacted business in 2020, allowing time for monitoring to take place and data to be gathered. Fast forward three years, and the Court has released three interim decisions that overrule these appeals and provides some clear direction to all stakeholders to better control dusty activities in the Mount Maunganui industrial area.

The Court also recognised that unsealed sites are now the largest unmanaged source of fine dust (particulate matter) within the Mount Maunganui industrial area.

“We know unsealed yards contribute to overall dust issues, so in line with this court direction we’ve developed additional rules that require these bigger yards (bigger than 400m2) to be sealed. Of the more than 600 sites in the Mount Maunganui industrial area, we expect around 120 landowners will be impacted by this directive from the court. We are in touch with these landowners about opportunities to feedback,” she says.

While these are significant steps forward, Ms Poutasi explains the Council will continue to use best available science, monitoring data and public feedback to inform further work aimed at approving air quality.

“We look forward to working with our partners and the community to build on the gains we have already made,” she says.

You can learn more about the Regional Natural Resources Plan and Plan Change 13 here.

 

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