Richmond Airshed Project

An Airshed is an area designated as a known high pollution area and gazetted as part of the National Environment Standard for Air Quality. This page provides details of the Richmond Airshed.

Tasman District Council has one designated airshed, and specific rules in the TRMP (Tasman Resource Management Plan) to help achieve ambient air quality standards established through National Environment Standards.

Map of the Richmond Airshed


Richmond Airshed Air Quality

All homes in Richmond are subject to Richmond Airshed rules which restrict the use of woodburners, as these contribute the most particulate matter (as smoke) in the area.

Richmond’s Airshed was created in 2006. The national standards and Council's air management strategy aims to reduce air pollution over time. The National Standards now requires (since September 2016) that there be no more than three high pollution nights a year.

By enforcing the rules relating to discharges from woodburners affecting winter pollution in the Richmond Airshed, it means that we should all be able to enjoy cleaner air, and Richmond will be a healthier place to live.

The air quality monitoring so far shows that air quality has been improving since the air quality strategy has been adopted.

The Main Source of Pollution in the Richmond Airshed

Over 80% of the pollution in the Richmond Airshed is caused by smoke from domestic solid fuel burners - mostly wood burners but also from coal burners.

The Council has an air quality strategy focused on:

  • preventing the installation of new wood burners
  • encouraging people to replace non-clean air compliant burners with compliant wood burners - especially open fires and coal burners
  • operating wood burners efficiently to reduce smoke emissions
  • preventing use of non-compliant wood/coal burners after a house changes ownership
  • working with wood retailers to ensure people get dry wood to burn through the Good Wood scheme

Throughout winter, Compliance Officers patrol the streets of Richmond to ensure that woodburner users enjoy the heat without the smoke, and enforce the rules relating to woodburner use.

Wood burners need to be well operated to minimise smoke or smell nuisance to neighbours and in a way that reduces air pollution. Council has 'The Good Practice Guide for Operating Wood Burners' to help achieve this.

Good Practice Guide for Operating Wood Burners.

See also information about the Good Wood Scheme.

Good Wood Scheme

Property Requirements    

To help get cleaner air for everyone in Richmond, every property within the Airshed that changes ownership must be heated by either a clean-air heat source (heat-pump, gas fire etc), or a clean air compliant woodburner which burns efficiently to ensure that only a small amount of smoke is produced. 

Criteria for Woodburners

If you have purchased a property in the Richmond Airshed since 2007, you cannot discharge smoke, soot or odour from your woodburner unless it complies with the National Environmental Standard for Woodburners. Only woodburners which have been certified to meet strict criteria are allowed to be used in Richmond after the date of the transfer of ownership.

National Environmental Standard for Woodburners

The Two Main NES Regulations for Woodburners:

An appliance which:
(1) emits no more than 1.5 grams of total suspended particulate per kilogram of fuel burned
(2) has a thermal efficency for space heating of at least 65%.

Approved Woodburners

Currently approved woodburners for installation within the Richmond Airshed: Ministry for the Environment - Authorised woodburner list

Winter Air Quality in Richmond

How is the Air Quality Today?

How to Keep Smoke From Your Woodburner to a Minimum?

Other Actions

Monitoring and Compliance

The Council will ensure people who have bought houses with non-compliant woodburners follow the rules which prevent the on-going use of these woodburners.  

Council will also assist homeowners with smokey chimneys to operate burners more efficiently.  Where smokey chimneys are a persistent problem, Council will take enforcement action.

Home Insulation

The standard of insulation also has an impact on air quality. Less fuel is needed to heat a snug, well-insulated home. Good insulation makes a house easier to heat and results in a drier, healthier home.

More information about the benefits of insulation can be found on the Energy Conservation and Efficiency Association (ECCA) website; or learn more about home insulation from EnergyWise:

Boiler Tuning

Combustion processes produce the small particles that contribute to air pollution. Theses source include boilers used in industrial and commercial processes. Efficiently run boilers that are tuned regularly mean fuel use is optimised and emissions are minimised.   More information about boilers can be found on the EECA webasite.

Information About Boilers

Background Information About Airsheds

The National Environmental Standard's (NES) aim at improving air quality was introduced in 2004 and requires Council to improve the air quality in the Richmond Airshed. More information about the NES

An airshed is an area of generally similar air, the movement of which has a predictable pattern, and the area is often confined by geographical boundaries such as hills. Airsheds have similar concentrations of PM10 and discharges to air in that airshed which contribute to the overall or ambient air quality in that airshed. Richmond is the only place in Tasman District where the required air quality standard is breached regularly and by a significant amount.

Under the National Environment Standards for Air Quality, the Council is required to:

  • report on any exceedences in the airshed
  • monitor levels of PM10 in that part of the airshed where there is one or more people, and where the standard is breached by the greatest margin or the most frequently
  • report on air quality when and if the standards are exceeded
  • monitor to measure the effectiveness of the management options it adopts to improve air quality
  • reach a target of no more than three exceedences of the air quality standard of 50 ug/m3 by September 2016. No more than one exceedence by 2020 is permitted by the NES.

View Air Quality monitoring data