Air plan review could spell end for open fires

EMMA BAILEY
Last updated 05:00 19/06/2014

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A proposed new Environment Canterbury (ECan) air plan could spell the end for traditional woodburners and open fires in Timaru, affecting 2533 households.

ECan has proposed an air plan review, which is to be discussed at two public meetings at West End Hall tomorrow, from 1.30pm to 3.30pm and 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

National air standards, which come into effect in 2016, will mean Timaru can only have three high pollution nights a year. Already this year it has had 14. Waimate has had four high pollution nights and Geraldine two, so will not be as affected by the proposed plan.

In Timaru there are 125 homes heated by open fires and 2408 by non-complying woodburners, including multi-fuel burners, thought to be responsible for 68 per cent of home heating emissions. There are 2324 complying burners and 81 pellet burners.

To help Timaru meet the air standards, ECan proposes banning open fires and non-complying woodburners, while allowing ultra-low emission woodburners and pellet fires. Woodburner users may be required to manage their smoke emissions.

In Waimate, 40 households are heated by open fires, and 505 by non-complying woodburners. There are 242 homes heated by complying woodburners and 23 by pellet burners.

In Geraldine, 12 homes are heated by open fires and 301 by non-complying woodburners. There are 224 homes heated by complying woodburners and 13 by pellet fires.

ECan proposes that in Geraldine and Waimate new homes will be required to have ultra-low emission woodburners, open fires would be banned and woodburner users would be required to manage their smoke emissions.

Tomorrow's public meetings are the first stage of the consultation process. Submissions are to be given by July 3. A draft air plan will be notified next February, with hearings to take place between October and December and the plan notified in March 2016, becoming operative the following December, after the national air standards have come into effect.

Edited to correct meeting times.

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- The Timaru Herald

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