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Wood burners 15 years and older need to be upgraded


7 February 2013

MEDIA STATEMENT

Wood burners 15 years and older need to be upgraded

While winter is still some months away, Environment Canterbury is reminding the Christchurch community that non-compliant wood burners 15 years and older cannot be used in winter and so should be replaced before the colder weather arrives.

Environment Canterbury’s air portfolio director Katherine Trought says the requirement is one of the rules in the Christchurch Air Plan which is designed to help the city’s air become less polluted and therefore healthier for residents.

"Although the rule has been in force since 2010, over the last two winters the earthquakes have meant people have had lots of other things to attend to with recovery top priority for everyone.

"Over the last two winters we’ve taken a flexible approach to this rule, but it’s now time to restart thinking about how we can all work together to improve the city’s air quality. Replacing older burners with cleaner forms of heating is a good step forward," she says. Options include a new approved wood burner, pellet fire, flued gas fire or heat pump.

Of course, if you are living in a significantly earthquake damaged home and still waiting for repairs or a rebuild, then it’s important to keep warm with whatever heating you have available. "If you are this situation and want to let us know, give us a ring and we will keep a record of it until your rebuild or repair is complete."

Environment Canterbury will shortly be sending letters to people who have older burners to remind them of the rule and the need to invest in a cleaner form of heating before winter. Homeowners can also check their wood burner age on the Environment Canterbury website, http://tools.ecan.govt.nz/WoodburnerAge/

"Poor air quality is a health issues for the community, particularly for those with respiratory illnesses. There has been a steady improvement in air quality in the city over the last decade and it’s important we keep up the momentum."

Environment Canterbury’s Clean Heat project saw $46 million of ratepayer and government money invested in helping people convert wood burners to cleaner forms of heating over 10 years. "This, coupled with changing attitudes to smoky fires and better burning practises, has meant we are all starting to benefit from cleaner air," says Ms Trought

Over winter Environment Canterbury responds to calls by people about smoky chimneys to its Pollution Hotline. "It’s important people have somewhere to call if they are concerned about smoky chimneys in their neighbourhood. We will be working with the community this winter to follow up on calls, so householders become more aware of what their chimneys emit, and how to burn better.’’

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