Councillors clash over woodburners

Last updated 12:58 17/03/2014

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Nelson city councillors have fallen out over a review of woodburners.

Councillor Tim Skinner has criticised councillor Brian McGurk who last week warned that any change to the city's clean air quality plan typically would take a year to get through.

A report on options is due to go to the council's planning and regulatory committee on May 8.

Mr Skinner said Mr McGurk had indicated a council apathy on woodburners. "This is his personal viewpoint, and is not indicative of council view or any decisions made by councillors.

"Councillor Brian McGurk is out of step. I am disappointed that this has been inferred as a decided direction and intention of council. He is well aware of my view and others on council in regards to the current outdated restriction on the use of clean, efficient woodburners."

Mr Skinner said changes were a top priority for him. "We can have a review shortly with a clear direction before winter. And yes, I believe these can be achieved without compromising good air quality."

Grey Power's Nelson president Neville Male said last week that its members were feeling let down that the Nelson City Council was going to kick the issue into touch for another year. He called on councillors to treat the matter with urgency.

Mr Skinner said: "The residents of Nelson have made it very clear of the needs for effective affordable heating. Many families are banned from installing approved efficient clean woodburners in their existing fireplaces, whilst their neighbours are allowed to benefit. Many are suffering from this ban, both old and young.

"Changes to woodburner rules are something I have continually pushed at many council discussions and will further represent strongly at the table as promised during my campaign. This is also top of mind and backed by Mayor Rachel Reese."

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