Transport-related air pollution impacts human health, with effects ranging from respiratory irritation, wheezing and coughing, through to more serious respiratory and cardiac conditions leading to increased hospitalisations and premature death. Air emissions play a role in shortening the lives of over approximately 3,300 New Zealanders each year and cause social costs of $15.6 billion per year (Health and air pollution in New Zealand 2016).
Air pollution can also reduce visibility and cause brown haze. Construction of land transport infrastructure can negatively affect air quality by creating dust and sometimes odours.
Of most concern to health are fine particles and oxides of nitrogen from vehicle tailpipes, and fine particles from brakes and tyres of vehicles. For more information about the causes and effects of air pollution, read our air pollution frequently asked questions.
Frequently asked questions about air pollution
We are committed to reducing the environmental and health effects of transport-related air pollution caused by our infrastructure by:
We are also working to reduce the air pollution caused by vehicles that travel on our roads by:
Walking, cycling and public transport
Environmental standards for vehicles
Vehicles are one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand. Reducing all emissions will benefit not only human health but also the health of the planet.
Our policy on air quality can be found in:
In addition to the requirements specific to each technical area, all land transport infrastructure activities must fulfil the requirements of:
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