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Burning, Dust & OdoursTe tahu, te puehu me te haunga

What do you do if your neighbour's fire is a nuisance? Or you are affected by dust or odour. Find out what air quality problems you can report to the Pollution Response team on 0800 108 838.

On this page you can find information about the following:


find out where and when to burn with our 'quick facts' flyer

What to do if a neighbour's fire is a nuisance?

You can talk to your neighbour or contact your local council if a fire is causing a nuisance or hazard. For fires in industrial and rural areas please contact our Pollution Hotline 0800 108 838 and talk to a Compliance Officer.


No outdoor burning is permitted in the Napier or Hastings air sheds each winter from from 1 May to 31 August. Exceptions are:

  • ​Burning for disease control
  • Burning orchard or vineyard redevelopment material
  • Fires for food cooking purposes i.e. barbeques or hangis

Maps showing the airsheds are available here

Air quality rules

We want clean, healthy air in Hawke's Bay. Smoke, fumes, odours and other products of combustion have a major impact on air quality. Apart from natural forest fires and geothermal activities, combustion/burning is the result of people’s activities.Burning has a major impact on human health and activity. It smells and can aggravate or cause lung conditions and cause sore eyes.

the Regional Council has consulted with the community and set rules through the Regional Resource Management Plan to limit the effects of smoke from industrial, agricultural and home based activities. Local city and district councils also have their own rules about burning and should be contacted to check whether you are able to light a fire.

the Regional Council has run a campaign to encourage orchardists and farmers to manage fires, so that dry material only is included and that no accelerants are used (ie no tyres or waste oil which produce damaging toxic fumes).

Good burning practice

  • Be considerate of your neighbours.
  • Smoke, ash and odours must not cause a problem or hazard beyond your property boundary.
  • Don’t burn vegetation that is still green or wet as it causes lots of smoke.
  • Check the weather especially wind direction and speed to keep smoke away from neighbours and to keep your fire under control.
  • Avoid burning on calm winter days. Smoke gets trapped by the inversion layer and forms a large cloud layer.
  • Only burn your waste. You can’t burn waste that comes from other people’s properties.
  • Don’t burn materials that are prohibited from burning. There is very little domestic rubbish that can be burnt as you must not burn plastic.
  • Don’t use tyres or waste oil to start fires. These are prohibited from burning.
  • Find out what the Regional Council rules are about burning waste.

Materials you must not burn

It is prohibited to burn these materials as they are extremely damaging to air quality:

  • Animal waste (unless generated on production land)
  • Tyres and other rubber
  • Waste oil, or any waste containing hydrocarbons
  • Wood (timber) either painted or treated with chemicals
  • Chipboard
  • Plastic
  • Asbestos
  • Medical or chemical waste
  • Any combination of metals and combustible materials, including coated or covered cables.
  • Any synthetic material
  • Peat.

Local council by-laws

By-laws are to ensure safe and responsible fires. Check with your local district or city council for what these are. They may include things like:

  • Fire restrictions during dry weather (in some rural areas Department of Conservation is the local fire authority).
  • Issuing of fire permits.
  • No burning at night.
  • Someone must stay with the fire at all times.
  • Ensuring you have water available to put the fire out.
  • Specific restrictions for trade and industrial sites.

Trade and Industrial Sites

Trade and industrial sites cannot burn in the open in addition to the other requirements. You must use fuel burning equipment that has a chimney and a way of controlling the temperature and oxygen. The old 44-gallon drum is not good enough. Also check your local council by-laws.

Rules for Burning Waste

The rules and policies for burning waste are in the Regional Resource Management Plan, rule 19 in section 6. This rule covers activities like vegetation burnoffs, domestic rubbish and garden waste and orchard prunings. Industrial and trade sites require fuel burning equipment (they cannot burn in the open). If you cannot meet this rule you require a resource consent. Don forget to also check the local by-laws.


Wind blown dust ‘n dirt Dust is an issue in Hawke’s Bay because of the high level of tillage for agriculture and horticulture. Wind drifted dust and dirt affects neighbouring properties, particularly in higher density residential areas. Dust can be made up of a wide range of fine solids – soil, pollen, and discharge from industrial activities.

The Council has undertaken ambient monitoring for dust at a number of sites – Taradale (Napier), Ardkeen (Wairoa district), Whanawhana (West of Napier) and Tukipo (Southern hill country).

Tillage of soil that coincides with equinoxial gales can result in huge dust storms, which can carry soil a long way. The Regional Council encourages low tillage methods with croppers. Pollen can also affected health. At times around Hawke’s Bay drifts of yellow powder can been seen in the streets. It occurs naturally (mostly from pine forests) so the Regional Council has no management role. Contact your health professional if you suffer allergic reactions to wind-borne pollen.


Complaints about odour (smell) are the most common type of air quality complaint to the Regional Council but this has been decreasing in recent years.

Odour can be a problem at any time where activities are not appropriately managed. It is particularly a problem where residential areas are adjacent to industry, food processing plants, composting operations and agriculture.

The region’s guideline for odour is: “There should be no offensive or objectionable odour beyond the boundary of the subject property”.

The Regional Council has worked with a number of industries that have had repeated odour emission problems. This can include ensuring that processing is undertaken properly, that ventilation systems are operating, that offending material is correctly disposed of, or that emissions don’t occur in certain wind or climate conditions.

Management of waste is a common cause of odour, especially if material is stockpiled or not worked properly (such as compost).


Compliance Telarc


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