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Appendix 1: Protocol for interviews

1.0 Introduction

The Users Guide to Resource Management (National Environmental Standards Relating to Certain Air Pollutants, Dioxins and Other Toxics) Regulations 2004 (Including Amendments 2005) outlines the legal requirements of the NES for air quality. It further provides recommended actions for air quality management under the NES for all councils as well as guidance for implementation in airsheds known, or likely, to exceed the fine particle ambient standard.

These legal requirements and recommended actions are outlined below.

1.1 Legal requirements

  • After 8 October 2004, regional councils and unitary authorities must:

  • enforce the six bans that came into effect on 8 October 2004

  • enforce the requirements of the landfill gas standard for any new landfill over 1 million tonnes design capacity.

After 1 September 2005, regional councils and unitary authorities must:

  • monitor air quality – if it is likely that the standard concentrations will be exceeded in an airshed and in accordance with the methods specified in the regulations

  • give public notice if the standard concentrations are exceeded in an airshed

  • ascertain 'straight-line' requirements for consent processing for fine particle emissions in airsheds where the standard is exceeded and only grant new resource consents in line with the requirements outlined in regulations 17 to 21

  • enforce the wood burner design standards.

After 1 September 2006, regional councils must:

  • enforce the ban on incinerators at schools and hospitals unless resource consent is provided before this date.

1.2 Recommended Actions

After 1 September 2005, regional councils and unitary authorities should also:

  • liaise with district and city councils as appropriate to ensure the wood burner design standard is implemented smoothly

  • continue with existing air quality monitoring programmes and review future requirements

  • review available knowledge about regional air quality including existing emission inventories (including resource consents), ambient air quality monitoring data (if available) and dispersion characteristics and develop an airshed action plan(s) to ensure any airsheds polluted with fine particles comply with the standard by 2013.

Regional councils and unitary authorities are further invited to:

  • publicise their reasons for choosing airsheds for gazetting by the Minister

  • consult with interested stakeholders (for example, industry, the Ministry) and the general public on future airshed designations

  • monitor and report on enforcement and implementation of the national environmental standards

  • prepare an action plan for areas that breach the ambient standards.

A review of implementation of the NES for air quality should address all of the above. In addition to this, however, it is also important to take into account the context in which each airshed is being managed. Other factors such as staff resourcing, additional council commitments and public demand can affect air quality initiatives. To provide a clear picture of implementation it is necessary to understand this context.

The following questions attempt to address both the regulatory requirements of the NES for air quality and the context in which air quality management is being carried out in each airshed.

Because the questions attempt to cover every eventuality, not all questions will be applicable to every airshed. Not all questions, therefore, need to be answered.

2.0 Interview questions

2.1 Background and context

This section attempts to record key information for each region to assist with establishing a clear picture of air quality management, as opposed to air quality regulation.

  • What are the key air quality issues for your region?

  • eg, airsheds, key sources, state of compliance with ambient standards, current provisions, proposed revisions and status of regional plan (and regional policy statement if applicable).

  • What other information relevant to air quality management in your region should be noted when undertaking a review of implementation of the NES for air quality in your region?

  • eg, deprivation index of airshed, regulatory approach prior to NES coming into force, air quality staff capacity (or lack thereof), location.

  • eg, deprivation index of airshed, regulatory approach prior to NES coming into force, air quality staff capacity (or lack thereof), location.

  • What other information relevant to air quality management in your region should be noted when undertaking a review of implementation of the NES for air quality in your region?

  • eg, deprivation index of airshed, regulatory approach prior to NES coming into force, air quality staff capacity (or lack thereof), location.

  • eg, deprivation index of airshed, regulatory approach prior to NES coming into force, air quality staff capacity (or lack thereof), location.

2.2 Enforcement of regulations

This section focuses on the regulatory requirements of the NES for air quality.

2.2.1 Prohibited Activity Standards

  • Are you aware of any breaches in your region of the six bans that came into effect on 8 October 2004:

    • lighting fires and burning waste at landfills
    • burning of tyres
    • burning of road bitumen
    • burning of coated wire
    • burning of oil in the open
    • ban on high temperature hazardous waste incinerators?10
  • Did you grant any consents for an incinerator at a school or hospital before 1 September 2006?

  • Have you undertaken any enforcement action in relation to the prohibited activity standards?

  • Is there other information relevant to the prohibited activity standards (eg, enforcement of regional plan provision that relates to a ban, monitoring of activities to ensure bans upheld)?

  • What barriers, if any, exist to efficient enforcement of the prohibited activity standards?

  • What, if anything, could the Ministry do to assist with effective enforcement of the prohibited activity standards?

  • In your view, are the prohibited activity standards effective?

  • Did you grant any consents for an incinerator at a school or hospital before 1 September 2006?

  • Have you undertaken any enforcement action in relation to the prohibited activity standards?

  • Is there other information relevant to the prohibited activity standards (eg, enforcement of regional plan provision that relates to a ban, monitoring of activities to ensure bans upheld)?

  • What barriers, if any, exist to efficient enforcement of the prohibited activity standards?

  • What, if anything, could the Ministry do to assist with effective enforcement of the prohibited activity standards?

  • In your view, are the prohibited activity standards effective?

2.2.2 Design standards

  • Are all landfills in your region compliant with the landfill design standard?

  • Are all burners installed in your region, post 1 September 2005, compliant with the wood burner design standard?

  • Have you undertaken any enforcement action in relation to the design standards?

  • Is there other information relevant to the design standards (eg, details of liaison with territorial authorities to facilitate implementation of the wood burner standard, rules in regional plan more stringent than wood burner standard, etc)?

  • What barriers, if any, exist to efficient enforcement of the design standards?

  • What, if anything, could the Ministry do to assist with effective enforcement of the design standards?

  • In your view, are the design standards for wood burners effective?

  • In your view, are the design standards for landfills effective?

2.2.3 Monitoring

  • Which areas do you consider likely to exceed the ambient standards?

  • Are these areas being monitored in accordance with the methods specified in the regulations?

  • What parameters are currently being monitored in your airsheds and what is the frequency of monitoring?

  • How are monitoring results reported (eg, council website, annual monitoring report, periodic reports) and when are they available to the public?

  • What is your overall assessment of the monitoring data (excellent, good, fair, poor)?

  • Is there other information relevant to the NES monitoring requirements (eg, monitoring and quality assurance being carried out in accordance with The Good Practice Guide for Air Quality Monitoring and Data Management, independent audit of monitoring carried out regularly)?

  • What barriers, if any, exist to fulfilling the monitoring requirements of the regulations?

  • What, if anything, could the Ministry do to assist with fulfilling the monitoring requirements of the regulations?

Note 1: Includes all five pollutants, not just PM10.

Note 2: May require cross-reference to airshed designation (refer below).

2.2.4 Public notice

  • Have any breaches of Schedule 1 of the regulations been measured in your region?

  • If yes, were the breaches publicly notified?

  • Is there other information relevant to the public notification provisions of the NES (eg, QA process to identify and document spurious data not being notified)?

  • In your view, are the monitoring and public notification requirements of the NES effective?

Note 1: Breaches as opposed to exceedances

Note 2: May not necessarily be council monitoring data that is reported

2.2.5 Airshed designation

  • Which areas in your region do you consider likely to exceed the ambient standards?

  • Have these areas been gazetted as an airshed?

  • Is there other information relevant to airsheds (eg, public consultation on boundaries of airsheds, limitations of monitoring data for areas likely to exceed, financial constraints for monitoring)?

The following section applies to only those councils with gazetted airsheds.

  • What barriers, if any, exist to efficiently gazetting airsheds for your region?

  • What, if anything, could the Ministry do to assist with gazetting airsheds for your region?

  • Do the airsheds gazetted in your region align with the relevant provisions of your regional plan?

  • Is there other information relevant to airshed gazettal (eg, changes in regional plans and impact on existing gazetted airsheds)?

2.2.6 Granting consents in accordance with section 17

  • Since 1 September 2005 have you granted any consents for discharges of PM10 in an airshed with a straight-line path? If yes:

    • How was the significance, or otherwise, of the discharge established?
    • How have you considered the application in accordance with the straight line path?
    • How were offsets, if used, incorporated into the application?
    • Is there other information relevant to consent conditions (eg, monitoring conditions, requirement for ‘continuous improvement’ or ‘best practice’)?
  • Since 1 September 2005 have you granted any consents for discharges of PM10 in an airshed, without a straight-line path, for which exceedances of the PM10 ambient standard have occurred, or are likely to have occurred? If yes:

    • How was the significance, or otherwise, of the discharge established?
    • How were offsets, if used, incorporated into the application?
    • Is there other information relevant to consent conditions (eg, monitoring conditions, requirement for ‘continuous improvement’ or ‘best practice’)?
  • Since 1 September 2005 have you declined any consents for discharges of PM10 in an airshed with a straight-line path? If yes:

    • What was the basis for decline?
    • How was the significance, or otherwise, of the discharge established?
    • Is there other information relevant to the consent decline (eg, breaching provision of regional plan, breaching section 17 of NES)?
  • In your view, are the NES restrictions on the granting of resource consents for discharges effective?

  • In your view, are the NES restrictions on the granting of resource consents for discharges effective?

2.3 Action plans to compliance with ambient standards

This section reviews what is happening in each region with respect to air quality management.

For each airshed that exceeds, or is likely to exceed, the PM10 ambient standard:

  • Do you have an action plan in place, or drafted, to achieve compliance with the ambient standards by September 2013?

  • Do you think the plan will succeed?

  • Does the action plan align with the relevant provisions of your existing regional plan?

    For areas with an action plan in place but unlikely to meet PM10 standard:

    • How does the plan address all elements of an air quality management framework; ie,. monitoring, emission inventories, predictive models, regulatory instruments (eg, proposed plan revisions), communication and strategy?
    • What is the key risk to the success of this action plan?
    • What barriers, if any, exist to the success of this action plan?
    • Is there other information relevant to the success of this action plan (eg, council support/opposition to proposed initiatives, funding issues)?
    • What, if anything, could the Ministry do to assist with achieving this action plan?

For areas with no action plan in place and unlikely to meet PM10 standard:

  • Is there other information relevant to the decision not to prepare an action plan (eg, lack of industry in airshed under consideration, limited monitoring data, staff capacity issues)?
  • What do you see as the key risk to the success of your plans/policies?
  • What barriers, if any, exist to the success of your plans/policies?
  • What, if anything, could the Ministry do to assist with achieving your plans/policies?

2.4 NES – general

This section addresses more general questions about the effectiveness, or otherwise, of the NES for air quality.

  • What, if any, perverse incentives have been created by the introduction of the NES for air quality?

  • Are you aware of any resource consents being ‘brought forward’ to avoid potential restrictions after 2013?

  • What, if anything, could the Ministry do to assist with effective enforcement of the regulations?

  • What barriers, if any, exist to the effectiveness of these regulations?

  • What, if anything, could the Ministry do to assist with achieving this original intent of the regulations?

  • What barriers, if any, exist to the successful implementation of the NES for air quality?


10  Crematoria and incinerator at Paritutu exempt.