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Focus on older wood burners this winter

12 March 2014

MEDIA RELEASE

Focus on older wood burners this winter

This winter, homeowners with wood burners which are 15 or more years old will be under the spotlight as Environment Canterbury continues its commitment to protecting the community’s health by cleaning up Canterbury air.

Commissioner David Bedford says “We are writing to Christchurch homeowners with older burners to remind them that under the Christchurch Air Plan they cannot use them during winter from 1 April – 30 September. Rangiora, Kaiapoi and Ashburton homeowners in the same situation can’t use their non-compliant burner at any time. This year, the ban will be actively enforced.

“Since the air plan has been in place, over the last decade thousands of people have made changes to the way they heat their homes and, as a result, we have had a significant reduction in air pollution. However further reductions in PM10 emissions are still required to meet the government’s health-based standards by 2016 and 2020.

“Older burners emit many more harmful PM10 particles into the air than more recent compliant models, often up to six times as much, so they make a significant contribution to winter pollution levels. We are asking people with these older burners to either upgrade to a new type of burner, or use a smoke-free appliance to heat their homes.’’

Ensuring people keep warm over winter is a high priority for many organisations across Canterbury and Environment Canterbury is playing its part, says Mr Bedford

“Since the earthquakes we have consistently said if people are waiting for earthquake repairs which affect their burner, or for their house to be rebuilt, they can keep using their older burner, but they need to let us know about their circumstances. This will also apply to people whose homes have been significantly damaged by flooding.

“We’re working with the community to reduce winter air pollution in the city and so this winter our staff will be out checking chimneys with thermal imaging technology. If they find an older burner being used, they will begin enforcement action and follow through with a fine if necessary.

“Canterbury people have committed to the drive to improve winter air quality,’’ says Mr Bedford. “We believe that reducing the number of higher polluting burners is one way we can do this. That is why we will be enforcing the ban on their use this winter.’’

ENDS


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