The Regional Plan: Air for Otago (the Air Plan) assists us in managing Otago’s air resource.

Purpose of the plan

Regional plan preparation is optional under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), except for the preparation of regional coast plans. We decided to prepare the Air Plan to assist us in carrying out our functions under the RMA.

However, it is the ORC’s responsibility to monitor ambient air quality and working with communities to achieve the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality, as well as raising awareness around local air quality issues.

The purpose of the Air Plan is to promote the sustainable management of Otago's air resource. To achieve this, the Air Plan has objectives, policies, rules, and other methods to address the air quality issues facing Otago.

Area covered by the plan

The Air Plan covers the entire Otago region, including Otago's coastal marine area.

Map of Otago showing Air Zones 1, 2 and 3
Overview of Air Zones (Regional Plan: Air for Otago)

Which air zone am I in?


Zone 2:

Zone 3:

  • Rest of Otago

What sort of activities does the plan cover?

The Air Plan applies to all types of discharges to air. The following issues are covered by the plan:

  • Agrichemical spraying
  • Burning of fuel
  • Discharges from industrial or trade activities, including odour and dust
  • Discharges of vapour
  • Domestic heating appliances
  • Intensive farming
  • Outdoor burning
  • Waste management

Change is in the air

The Council has begun the process of reviewing our Air Plan. The table below lists changes to the Air Plan since it was made operative.

Key Event

Date Notified

Date Decision Released

Date Operative

The Regional Plan: Air for Otago

28 February 1998

30 June 2001

1 January 2003

Plan Change 1 (Fire Service Training)

17 December 2005

29 March 2006

10 April 2006

Plan Change 2 (National Environmental Standards)

14 April 2007

12 December 2007

1 January 2009

Amendment (NPS for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Industrial Process Heat) 30 September 2023



30 September 2023

Why you should read the plan

If you're thinking of carrying out an activity in Otago that discharges contaminants (such as smoke, odour or dust) to air, you should read the rules in the Air Plan to see:

  • If you can carry it out as a permitted activity,
  • If you require a resource consent to carry it out, or
  • If you cannot carry it out because it's a prohibited activity.

A resource consent is required for any activity the Air Plan states as being a discretionary activity.

The Air Plan does not apply to the discharge of contaminants to air associated with the normal operation of ships within the coastal marine area. Such discharges are controlled by the Resource Management (Marine Pollution) Regulations 1998, rather than the Air or Coast Plans. However, the Air Plan does apply to the discharge of contaminants to air from abrasive blasting, spray painting and conveying of bulk materials.

The Air Plan does not control the discharge of contaminants to air associated with the activities controlled by the Waste Plan.

Does your burner need to be replaced?

View the list of approved burners on the Home Heating page.

The most common interaction our community has with the Air Plan is home heating. Look below to see if you need to adjust your method of home heating to meet the regulations for your Air Zone.

Air Zone

Approved burner

Alexandra, Arrowtown, Clyde, Cromwell, and Milton

Emission rate less than 0.7g/kg and a thermal efficiency of no less than 65%

Balclutha, Dunedin, Green Island, Hawea, Kingston, Milton, Mosgiel, Naseby, Oamaru, Palmerston, Port Chalmers, Queenstown, Ranfurly, Roxburgh, Waikouaiti, and Wanaka

Meet MfE guidelines of an emission rate of less than 1.5g/kg and thermal efficiency of no less than 65%.

Properties 2 hectares or smaller in the rest of Otago

Meet MfE guidelines of an emission rate of less than 1.5g/kg and thermal efficiency of no less than 65%.

Use this flowchart to find out if your appliance is compliant:


Read the Otago Air plan

You can order a physical copy at no cost from your ORC customer services team, or download:

Air in Otago

To learn more about how air is managed in Otago, and what you can do to contribute to clean air, you can view our Air Care pages.