Buyers could be burned

03:52, Feb 14 2013
Braziers banned

Purchasing your backyard brazier or pizza oven this summer could end up costing you $20,000, and chances are, you aren't even aware they are banned in Christchurch.

The longstanding ban was also news to home improvement giant Bunnings, which has promised to yank all its non-compliant products from Canterbury stores.

According to Environment Canterbury and the city council, outdoor fires (including braziers and pizza ovens) are banned in the Christchurch clean air zone, which includes all residential properties in the city.

The reasons for the ban are twofold, with ECan citing neighbourly nuisance and pollution as key concerns, and the council monitoring fire risk.

Lighting your backyard brazier could see you sporting a $300 (residential) or $1000 (industrial) fine from the environmental watchdog.

The risk of outdoor fires is regulated by the city council, which has the capacity to fine offenders up to $20,000.

With such high penalties in place, the Christchurch Mail was surprised to find a complete lack of customer information across three major home improvement stores in the city.

Shopping for braziers and pizza ovens at Bunnings Riccarton, Placemakers Riccarton, or Mitre10 Mega Hornby, a customer could easily purchase a banned outdoor fire, none the wiser about the ban or the steep penalties in place.

None of the three stores visited carried any information regarding the use of outdoor fires in Christchurch.

An ECan spokesperson said there was a "total outdoor fire ban" in Canterbury all year round.

ECan said it was the purchaser's responsibility to check rules and regulations around outdoor fires before buying braziers and the like from local shops.

However, it was encouraging retailers to carry more information about where outdoor fires could be used.

Bunnings New Zealand responded to a Christchurch Mail question about the posting of information in its Canterbury stores.

A company spokeperson said there was no education programme in place in its Christchurch stores, informing customers or employees of the Canterbury-specific regulations.

The lack of information was an "inadvertent omission".

"We take our responsibilities within the community very seriously, " the spokesperson said.

It promised to remove all non- compliant braziers, outdoor fires and pizza ovens from its Christchurch and Ashburton stores, and would take steps to ensure staff were informed about the ban.

The chain would still offer the products on request if required by those living outside the clean air zone. All outdoor fires require a permit from the city council.


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