Reporting back

Improving air quality

Date: 01 January 2021
Reporting Frequency: Annually
Category: Air Quality, Transport, Urban Development


All eight airsheds meet the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality.


Four out of eight airsheds met the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality (NESAQ) in 2020.

About this goal

One of the main air pollutants in Canterbury is particulate matter smaller than 10 micrometres — or PM10. We monitor PM10 concentrations in our region's eight monitored areas, known as airsheds. Each airshed has fixed requirements under the health-based National Environmental Standards for Air Quality (NESAQ).

In 2020, the Geraldine, Rangiora and Washdyke airsheds must experience no more than one ‘high pollution’ night per year. High pollution nights are determined as an average of PM10 over 50 micrograms per cubic metre of air during a 24 hour period.

Until September 2020, Christchurch, Timaru, Ashburton, Waimate and Kaiapoi airsheds must have no more than three nights per year with PM10 over 50 micrograms per cubic metre of air. From 1 September 2020, this reduces to no more than one night per year.

The current number of high pollution nights per airshed is available here

Why does it matter?

Poor air quality can be an issue in Canterbury towns and cities, mainly during the coldest months. While air quality is improving, pollution levels still sometimes exceed national health-based environmental standards. We want our communities to be able to continue to burn wood to keep their homes warm, but we also want to make sure our region meets these standards for cleaner, healthier air.

What's being done?

Despite a reduction in the number of high pollution nights recorded across Canterbury in the past decade, we still need to do more to improve the quality of the air our communities breathe.

Our Air Plan will help us meet national standards in coming years.

We are responding to air pollution by:

  • Helping householders to reduce emissions through better wood burning.
  • Developing strategies under the regional Air Plan to meet the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality.
  • Working with industry to encourage development of ultra-low emissions technology for home heating.
  • Monitoring air quality.

How we are tracking

  • View real-time high pollution night information for all airsheds this year.
  • High pollution night trends over previous years.

Find out more

View real-time air quality data information.

View air quality data from past years.

Read the latest air quality environmental snapshot report.

Sign up for high pollution alerts.

View the current and previous air monitoring results on LAWA’s website.

Find out how ratepayer funding supports this work with our Rates Tool.


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