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Too many people still ignore outdoor fire ban

July 26, 2006

Too many people still ignore Christchurch’s outdoor fire ban

Environment Canterbury’s pollution hotline received more than 78 complaints during May and June this year of people ignoring the Christchurch winter outdoor fire ban.

This is more than any other issue the pollution hotline deals with.

Figures presented to Environment Canterbury’s regulation overview committee today showed that of the 78 complaints, 27 resulted in infringement notices. Of these, 21 were individual householders lighting a fire in their backyard who were fined $300 each and six of them were commercial offenders, fined $1,000 each.

In the same period last year 94 complaints were received, but only 17 resulted in infringement notices.

“It’s good to see that the number of complaints have dropped since last year,” says Cr Alec Neill, joint chair of the regulation overview committee. “However, we acknowledge the cold snap we had in June may have influenced the drop in people burning outside. Whatever the case, 78 offences are still far too many for a ban that has been around for more than 20 years now.”

A winter outdoor fire ban is in place in Christchurch from May 1 to August 31. The Air Plan, which may become operative next year, proposes to ban outdoor burning year-round. “It’s common sense really,” says Cr Neill. “Outdoor fires in the city are not a good idea and cause a lot of nuisance to neighbours.”

For all environmental complaints, call the pollution hotline on 0800 76 55 88.


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