This section highlights air quality issues in Nelson and Tasman District and covers hot topics and information relating to air quality management in both rural and urban areas.

Discharges to Air from Specified Premises or Processes

To ensure that discharges are carried out with the least possible effect upon air quality, discharges to air from industrial or trade premises require authorisation through the Council's resource consent application process.

Activites Requiring Authorisation

Obtaining a resource consent for specified activities ensures that some control is put in place so that the general public and the environment won't be subjected to adverse effects.  The industrial or trade activities that require consent includes:

  • treatment or disposal of waste
  • composting operations over 50 cubic metres
  • manufacture of cement, fertiliser, milk powder, other milk-derived products, and rubber goods
  • manufacture of timber-derived products, pulp or paper
  • mechanical drying of timber
  • fish, fishmeal or food and vegetable processing plants, rendering, tanneries, fellmongeries, and skin or hide processing
  • woolscourers and dag crushers
  • manufacture of organic or inorganic chemicals
  • spraying of paint and similar coatings
  • crematoria
  • asphalt plantscommercial potteries
  • hot dip galvanising
  • dry cleaning where dry cleaning fluid use exceeds 500 millilitres per day
  • disposal of radioactive substances
  • manufacture of soaps or detergents
  • use of disocyanates or organic plasticisers
  • manufacture of aluminum, steel, fibreglass, glass or frit
  • sintering, calcining or roasting of metal ores
  • smelting of any metal or metal alloy, including scrap metal
  • carbonisation, gasification, refining, purification or reforming of natural gas, petroleum oil, shale, coal, wood or other carbonaceous materials
  • smelting or burning of calcium or calcium magnesium carbonates to pure calcium or magnesium oxides or hydroxides

Resource Consent

Once a resource consent is obtained and granted, managing your resource consent effectively is very important.

  • Resource Consent Process
  • Managing your Resource Consent

Discharges Likely to Cause Smoke or Odour

If the effect of smoke or odour from your proposed activity may cause adverse effects which are likely to be more than minor, you may require resource consent to ensure that effects upon the environment are controlled.

Activities such as those in the following list sometimes cause effects which could be reduced, or using alternative methods:

  • drainage using, or disposal of shellfish e.g. mussel shells;
  • spreading of chicken manure as a fertiliser;
  • burning of farm or orchard waste;
  • burning of packaging materials or pallets;
  • spreading of effluent.

Resource consent information

If the activity you propose may cause offence or annoyance to people around or adjacent to your site, or to people driving or walking past, it's best to check with Tasman District Council before you carry out the activity so that we can advise whether alternatives can be used.

It would also be advisable to inform your neighbours and other people who might be affected by your activity.

Domestic Woodburners

This section gives a brief guide to installing a woodburner, including guidance for the Richmond Airshed.

Replacing Old or Installing New Domestic Woodburners

Outside of the Richmond Airshed, if you wish to install a new woodburner or replace an existing woodburner in any of the following zones, or on any site less than two hectares, only a wood burner which meets the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality may be installed.

  • Central Business
  • Residential
  • Commercial
  • Mixed Business
  • Tourist Accommodation
  • Industrial
  • Papakainga
  • Open Space
  • Recreational; or
  • Rural Residential Zone [where the property is less than two hectares]

The Ministry for the Environment maintains a a list of compliant woodburners and your woodburner retailer can also provide you with information about clean air compliant wood burners.

You will also require Building Consent for the installation of the wood burner.

Outside of the listed areas, you may install the woodburner of your choice, however Council still recommends that a Clean-Air heat source be chosen.

Minimise the risk of causing smoke nuisance to your neighbours by following the good practice measures in our guide: 

Operating a Woodburner properly

Replacing a Domestic Woodburner within the Richmond Airshed

If you are replacing a woodburner in a property within the Richmond Airshed, you must only install a woodburner from the list of woodburners which meet or exceed the criteria of the National Environmental Standard for Air Quality.  The Ministry for the Environment maintains a list of the compliant woodburners and your woodburner retailer can also provide you with information about clean air compliant wood burners.

A Building Consent to carry out the work will be required.

No new homes in the Richmond Airshed are allowed to install wood burners at all, and no property in the Richmond Airshed currently without a woodburner may install a woodburner. Council recommends that alternative heat sources with no or low emissions be used in this instance e.g. gas heating, heat pumps, etc.

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Industrial Air Discharges

All industrial discharges to air that may have a more than minor effect upon the environment are required to have resource consent to conditionally authorise the activity.


Compliance Officers carry out physical inspections to monitor resource consents and most air discharges are required to provide periodic reports which ascertain the level of contaminants in the smoke or steam which is emitted through processes on site.

A small number of industries discharge contaminants into the air under the permitted activity rules, which means that they are allowed to create steam, smoke, or odour subject to meeting certain criteria.

Permitted Activities

The Tasman Resource Management Plan (TRMP) provides information on discharges allowed under the permitted activity rules.

In chapter 36 of the plan you will also find information on certain types of premises and processes which may not operate without resource consent.

TRMP Part VI Chapter 36 - Rules for Contaminant Discharges

Read more about the Tasman Resource Management Plan

Outdoor Burning

This section explains rules around outdoor burning, information about fire permits and provides a good practice guide.

Tasman District Council manages discharges into the environment from outdoor burning, however for safety purposes, Nelson Tasman Fire and Emergency New Zealand requires you to obtain fire permits for outdoor burning anywhere within the Tasman District.

Fire Ban Areas

Richmond and Motueka have fire ban areas restricting outdoor fires.

There are a few exceptions to the ban including:

  • small fires used for cooking purposes such as barbeques and pizza ovens;
  • outdoor fireplaces including braziers;
  • small camp fires;
  • celebratory fires in Open Space or Recreation Zones;

In addition, outdoor burning is restricted during winter (June to August) in all settlements where a Fire Sensitive Zone applies.  Exceptions for small fires apply and a further exception is provided for burning horticultural crops where there is a risk of plant disease spreading.

A resource consent could be applied for in Fire Ban or Fire Sensitive Areas for horticultural waste or where a property is at least 5,000 square metres in area.

Good Practice

Where burning can be done, it must be carried out following good practice. Smoke from outdoor fires can cause significant adverse health, nuisance and amenity effects on neighbours and in the local area. 

Every effort must be made to minimise smoke from outdoor fires.  Times of the year when smoke from outdoor burning causes more problems include autumn and spring when there are more fires and calm, clear days which means smoke hangs about for longer.  Extra care must be taken at these times.

If you intend to light a fire outdoors anywhere in the Tasman District you must comply with the following criteria:

  • The property where the fire is lit must not be in the Fire Ban Area at any time, or Fire Sensitive Area (between June and August inclusive);
  • Only dry vegetation (from no more than three adjoining properties), paper and cardboard may be burnt;
  • No offensive or objectionable nuisance smoke, odour or ash is to cross the property boundary;
  • Any horticultural waste burning must also be carried out with best practice to minimise any smoke;
  • Smoke must not reduce traffic visibility or visibility on any public amenity area;
  • No municipal, domestic, industrial or trade waste or plastic is to be burnt;
  • No tree stumps are to be burnt.

If a fire is considered to be excessively smokey, the Council's compliance staff may issue an abatement notice with instructions on what action must be taken or issue infringement notices and fines.

Fire Permits

A fire permit allows you to light a fire, but does not allow you to create nuisance smoke or objectionable effects beyond the property boundary of your site.

When lighting an outdoor fire anywhere in the Tasman District, a fire permit is required for safety purposes.  The Council is not responsible for the issue or administration of fire permits. These can be obtained by contacting Nelson Tasman Fire and Emergency New Zealand.

Farm Plastics

Farm plastic, including agrichemical containers and silage wrap must not be burnt.  Recycling programmes operated by AgRecovery (for agrichemical containers) and Plasback (silage wrap) offer alternatives to burying or burning this type of plastic.

Further Information

If you require further information regarding what can and can't be burnt, please contact Nelson Tasman Fire and Emergency New Zealand.

National Environmental Standards

In 2004, National Environmental Standards for Air Quality were introduced under the Resource Management Act and amended in 2011.

The standards:

  • ban particular activities that discharge significant quantities of dioxins and other toxics into the air
  • set limits for allowable levels of air pollution
  • set targets for meeting the air quality standards in polluted airsheds
  • require all new wood burners installed on properties up to 2ha to meet a design standard
  • require landfills over 1 million tonnes of refuse to collect greenhouse gas emissions

The Richmond Airshed is a Gazetted Airshed under this National Environment Standard.

  • The number of times the air quality standard is exceeded in the airshed must reduce to 3 times per year by 2016 and once per year from 2020
  • If the airshed air quality does not meet the specified standards, resource consents for new discharges of particulates will be restricted.

We use the following to meet our requirements under the Resource Management Act using the following:

  • policies to manage specific issues in our District
  • rules relating to wood burner upgrades at the time a house is sold
    resource consents for discharges for industrial and trade premises
  • education campaigns and incentives to promote the use of cleaner domestic heating sources
  • the Good Wood Scheme

Related Links