Dust from roads and off wheels gets blame in Dunedin air pollution

Dust from roads and "off the wheels" of vehicles is being blamed for much of central Dunedin's air pollution.

As a result, tighter controls could be placed on the movement of vehicles from construction sites.

The Otago Regional Council studied air quality in central Dunedin during 2010 to try to better understand air pollution around its Albany St monitor.

It found dust from roads and "off the wheels" of vehicles was a major contributor to air pollution in the area.

The site recorded pollution levels more than the National Environmental Standard (NES) limit of 50 micrograms per cubic metre on average six times. The NES allows its levels to be exceeded only once a year.

During 2010, from April to December, the level was passed 12 times, all during working week days.

Air quality scientist Deborah Mills, in a report to the council's natural resources committee yesterday, said most were just over the limit but that could have been because of the mild winter and therefore less domestic and industrial burning.

On high pollution days, coarse material dominated the sample but it was a combination of all sources that caused limits to be exceeded.

Chairman Stephen Woodhead said the study also showed that fine particles, which did the most damage to people's health, were below the NES.

Policy and resource planning director Fraser McRae said vehicle pollution had been thought of as from the exhaust pipe but this study showed what came "off the wheels" was of most concern.

While there might be less of a problem when the Forsyth Barr Stadium was completed, it was an issue with any construction site.

"It is a management issue. Vehicle movements around construction sites can be dealt with."

Environmental information and science director John Threlfall said the results showed controls around vehicle movements from construction sites needed to be dealt with during the consent process.



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