Nelson’s Air Plan Review

In close collaboration with the community, Nelson City Council is reviewing the Nelson Air Quality Plan, as part of the wider review of Whakamahere Whakatū Nelson Plan.

The review will focus on how to keep people warm in their homes while still meeting the National Environmental Standard for Air Quality (NESAQ) set by central government.

The process for changing the Air Plan is set by the Resource Management Act (RMA). This means that Council has to gather robust information and research to support the review. It also means there are certain steps that Council must complete, for exampling notifying the review, asking for submissions and holding a hearing.

Meantime, Council decided in December 2015 to carry out a Woodburner Plan Change to be notified in January 2016 to bring forward potential changes to the rules on woodburners as requested by the community.

See background to the review.


December 2014

Council decides to start the review of the Air Plan as a priority.

March 2015

A public meeting is held to better understand the key issues from the community and how these could be addressed.

April 2015

List of possible options compiled for changing the rules including community feedback.

May 2015

Winter air monitoring starts, with a new monitoring machine installed in Stoke. Technical experts contracted for modelling work and research continues to guide the review.

June 2015

Education and behaviour change winter programme starts – newspaper articles, burn smoke free video. Council’s Eco Design Adviser continues to be busy helping households with options on heating, ways to save money on power bills, and how to keep warm and healthy in homes.  Council confirms $100,000 to healthy homes scheme.

July 2015

Public meeting to brainstorm additional options for keeping people warm while also meeting national standards for air quality.

Aug - Oct 2015

Modelling work continues using the winter monitoring data to see what changes to the rules will be feasible.

November 2015

Council decides to progress a discrete Woodburner Plan Change ahead of the full Air Plan review.

December 2015

Woodburner Plan Change rules to Council for decision to notify

January 2016

Woodburner Plan Change notified for public submission (closing after 20 working days)

Feb 2016

Submissions are summarised

March 2016

Further submissions (closing after 10 working days)

Mid 2016


June 2016

Decision (with appeals open for 30 working days afterwards)



Council decided at its meeting on 18 December 2014 to start the review of the air plan as a priority so any changes can be made operative as soon as possible. Under the RMA (Resource Management Act), the rules cannot be changed without undertaking a plan change. Download the Woodburner Working Party report considered by the Council (112KB PDF) (112KB PDF).

Along with the community, Council is also engaging with the Minister and staff from the Ministry for the Environment in finding a solution.

A public meeting was held on Monday 16 March to better understand the key issues from the community and how these could be addressed through a plan change. A second public meeting was held on Thursday 30 July to respond to the feedback received so far and to discuss options.

Key decisions made in December were to: bring a review of the Nelson Air Quality Plan forward by three years starting immediately, to consult with the community, to engage with the Ministry for the Environment, to continue monitoring air sheds, to look into alternative woodburner options, and to allocate funding through the Long Term Plan.

Alongside the plan change, Council has allocated a total of $140,000 to date to support the Warmer Healthier Homes programme for insulation upgrades to Nelson residents most in need. Here is the report considered by the Council on insulation and clean heat assistance (96KB PDF) (96KB PDF).

The following technical reports were considered by the Woodburner Working Party in 2014: