- Following the introduction of the national environmental standard, 71* areas were identified in New Zealand where air quality is likely or known to breach the standards for at least one of the five pollutants – these areas are known as airsheds.
- Some airsheds are also identified based on factors such as: the number of people living in the airshed, its unique weather patterns and geography or because local air emissions (eg, local industrial activity) need to be managed separately.
- In most cases, airsheds are towns or cities, though in some areas they may include a number of towns – for example, the Otago 1 airshed combines Alexandra, Arrowtown, Clyde and Cromwell.
- About two-thirds of New Zealanders live in these airsheds.
- As of 2011, 43 of New Zealand’s 71 airsheds are being monitored. Not all airsheds are monitored: if exploratory tests show that air pollutant levels are above the standard or a high number of people are affected, then ongoing monitoring is required.
* Note: 70 of the 71 airsheds are gazetted for PM10 and one is gazetted for sulphur dioxide.
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Last updated: 10 December 2012