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Clean Air Proposal for consultation in Ashburton

August 15, 2008

MEDIA STATEMENT

Clean Air Proposal open for consultation in Ashburton.

Cleaner winter air in Ashburton is a step closer to reality with an Environment Canterbury (ECan) clean air proposal going out for consultation Saturday August 16. The proposal aims to deliver health benefits to people in Ashburton by reducing winter air pollution or PM10 and covers the use of woodburners and open fires, outdoor burning and boilers. The proposal complements a scheme that provides interest-free loans for clean heating and insulation and that was launched in Ashburton last month.

The clean air proposal has been developed jointly by Environment Canterbury and the Ashburton District Council (ADC). ADC is taking the health effects of the polluted air on Ashburton residents very seriously and wanted something done about it.

Consultation on the proposed Variation 13 to ECan’s Proposed Natural Resources Regional Plan, Chapter 3 closes 22 September, 2008. ECan is holding an open day in the Ashburton Public Library in Havelock St on Tuesday, 2 September, from noon to 4pm.

If the clean air proposal is approved, the use of an open fire or high-emission woodburner will not be allowed in Ashburton from 1 May 2011 except for emergency use. Those will need to be replaced by a low-emission burner or a clean air appliance or be covered by resource consent after fifteen years. Low-emission woodburners are allowed to be installed in all houses, including new homes, while old burners and open fires can be retained for emergency use only, such as a significant power cut. These rules apply only to the Ashburton urban area (Clean Air Zone 1).

“We have clearly identified that open fires and high-emission woodburners are the main culprits of Ashburton’s winter air pollution,” says Councillor Jo Kane, chair of Environment Canterbury’s Air Portfolio. “Working with Ashburton District Council has brought in a real local knowledge component to identify how best to achieve the National Environmental Standard requiring the 13-25 high pollution days to come down to one by 2013. Ashburton has shown a willingness to find the best mix of initiatives to work towards healthier air and the spin-offs with warmer homes,” says Cr Kane.

“We now have a very good package for Ashburton with rules to phase out old heating and an interest-free loan for replacement heating,” says Cr Angus McKay, ECan Councillor for Rakaia. “This proposal together with the subsidies will not only result in healthier air but will also create warmer homes,” says Cr McKay.

“Working with ECan Councillor Angus McKay as joint chair of the air quality working party was a good experience,” says Cr Robin Kilworth, chair of environmental services, Ashburton District Council.

The proposal also covers boilers and outdoor burning. It is proposed that outdoor burning is banned during winter in the Ashburton urban area (Clean Air Zone 1) and a surrounding ‘buffer’ zone (Clean Air Zone 2). Outdoor burning is already banned year-round in residential areas in Canterbury through existing rules.

For the proposal including zone boundaries go to www.ecan.govt.nz/nrrp

For rules on woodburners and open fires go to www.ecan.govt.nz/woodburner-rules

For an up-to-date list of appliances (brands and models) approved for installation in Ashburton go to www.ecan.govt.nz/approved-woodburners


ENDS

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