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Published: 2003-11-28 00:00:00

Environment Waikato’s Policy Committee is concerned about the practicality of implementing proposed new national air quality standards.

The Committee heard yesterday that the Council has made a submission on the proposed environmental standards, generally supporting it for health reasons but asking for more clarification of regional councils’ role in implementing the standards and how they would take effect especially where breaches occur.

The proposal gives standards for particles, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and ozone, and prohibits burning of coating wire, landfills, tyres, road tar seal and waste oil in the open. It also sets standards for new low temperature waste incinerators in schools and hospitals without a consent, and emission design standards for wood and coal burning heaters in houses.

Under the new standards Environment Waikato would be required to notify exceedances through the media and take action to achieve the standards.

Enforcement action could be taken against the Council if progress towards reaching the standards is not made within a three-year timeframe.

The Council’s Proposed Waikato Regional Plan would also need to be assessed against the national environmental standards and amendments may be needed to ensure it is consistent.
Cr Jim Howland said it was an important piece of legislation, and a first with standards based on health issues, but it had great implications for regional councils.

Cr Jenni Vernon said the submission from Environment Waikato needed to be clear that it endorsed the health standards but was concerned about the implementation.

Councillors questioned the practicality and cost effectiveness of the proposed legislation.