Pilot project to address dust issues in McLeans Island area

We are undertaking a pilot project focused on gathering better information and data about dust levels in the McLeans Island area.  

The aim of the pilot is to better understand the community’s experience of dust, collect data from a variety of sources, and ultimately help reduce resident’s exposure to dust and improve their quality of life. 

Update

1 April 2021

The period for receiving reports about dust through our web-based reporting tool has ended.

During this period, we received a total of 23 reports through the app, and completed a total of 59 proactive discharge to air assessments.

We are now analysing the data and information we received, and will share a report on our findings with the community when we have completed this process.

In the meantime, you can continue to call  0800 765 588 to report any dust incidents.

Pilot overview

What is the project about?

We know dust is a serious concern for many residents in the McLeans Island area. 

The pilot study will use dust reports from the community via a mobile app, which should build a comprehensive picture of what was occurring on particular days and provide the information needed to inform changes to improve the situation.

This will generate far more detailed and high-quality information than has previously been available.  

Where is project area?
Where is project area?
Is this work going to make the dust go away?

We cannot guarantee the dust will be eliminated entirely. Having more data from the community will allow us to better access and manage the situation, and more effectively reduce the community’s exposure to dust.  

I don’t live near McLeans Island, but my area also has dust problems. Why isn’t the project collecting data in my area?

Once this pilot is completewe will be able to consider the results and use them to tackle dust issues in other areas throughout Canterbury. 

In the meantime, please call  0800 765 588 (24 hours) to report any dust incidents. 

I want to receive updates on this project, what can I do?

You can choose to provide your email address through the app and we will add you to our email list for updates. 

Background

What is causing airborne dust in the McLeans Island area?

Most complaints in the area have mentioned quarrying as the source of dust and we work closely with these operators to ensure all practical measures are taken to lessen the effect of this work.  The aim of the pilot is to establish exactly where the dust is originating from. 

By gathering further data through this pilot, we will have a clearer picture of where dust is originating, which could also include sources such as the Waimakariri River. 

Can the dust harm me?

While there are incidents of nuisance dust in the McLeans Island area, there is no evidence that this dust is harmful. We appreciate nuisance dust is a concern for residents, and we want them to know we are taking this very seriously.  

four-month air quality monitoring programme in the Yaldhurst area in 2018 showed that there was no serious public health risk to residents in the area from airborne dust. 

How is the pilot study different to previous efforts to determine the cause of dust?

This is the first time we have gathered information from the community through an app and coupled it with proactive and reactive assessments from field officers and information from dust monitors. These three information streams will provide richer and more robust data for us to analyse.  

How is dust regulated?

Under the Resource Management Act 1991, the primary responsibility for managing air quality lies with regional councils and unitary authorities.  

Environment Canterbury developed the Canterbury Air Regional Plan with the community’s valuable input.  The plan sets out how we are going to manage air pollution, including from dust, to help meet national air quality standards. 

Dust can be caused by places such as building, demolition and clean-fill sites, subdivisions under development, vehicles driving on unsealed surfaces, land cultivation, ports and quarries. 

Measures in the air plan include requiring a dust management plan or consent depending on the scale of dust-generating activity, and continuing to monitor and require operators who discharge dust to implement good dust management practices or gain consent depending on the scale of dust-generating activity.