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Any transport project has the potential to affect air quality and increase risk of exposure if there are significant changes in traffic flows, speed, vehicle fleet composition, congestion or the location of traffic relative to sensitive receptors.

The following air quality standards and guidelines have been put in place to provide levels of protection for our health:

  • national environmental standards for air quality (Ministry for the Environment)
  • ambient air quality guidelines (Ministry for the Environment)
  • regional air quality guidelines and targets (regional councils)

Standards, guidelines and targets specify maximum limits for air pollution concentrations for given averaging periods. In some cases concentrations are allowed to exceed these levels but only for a specified number of times in an annual period. The averaging periods are related to exposure and usually each pollutant has a short-term (acute) limit and a long term (chronic) limit.

There are also recommended trigger levels for transport-related dust to protect amenity for people and property located near major roadways, especially during their construction or maintenance. Odour and spray drift are assessed on a case by case basis against relevant criteria.

For further information contact