Use of smoke pots not on, landowners warned

No mercy will be shown to users of outlawed frost-fighting smoke pots, Otago Regional Council chief executive Graeme Martin says.

There had been a tendency for some landowners to go back to using the pots even though they had been outlawed for some time, Mr Martin told the environmental science committee this week during a discussion on air quality.

The council was already taking one prosecution regarding the use of the pots, he said.

"It's a bit like dairy farming. There will be no mercy," he said, referring to the policing of polluters.

The use of smoke pots impacted on air quality, especially in airshed one areas in Central Otago.

An investigation into the interaction of PM10 emissions from Clyde and Alexandra did not support the theory for the transport [movement] of PM10 from Clyde to Alexandra, a committee report said.

National Environmental Standard (NES) requires the average daily PM10 level not exceed 50mcg per cubic metre in a 24-hour period more than once a year by 2013.

"Rather, it points to a dip in the PM10 levels during the mid-evening in Alexandra, as cleaner air is moved over the monitor."

Environmental information and science director John Threlfall said the study had produced a greater understanding of what the Alexandra basin was doing and provided baseline information for further investigations.

"We're trying to piece together a jigsaw puzzle."

Balclutha was being added to the towns being monitored this winter.

Dunedin had an early start to winter, failing the NES on Tuesday with a reading of 52mcg.

Staff were looking into the problem to see what caused the level which happened during the day, he said.

A study would begin this winter to look more in depth at where Dunedin's air quality problems were coming from.


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