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Ashburton wood burner users offered a challenge

Environment Canterbury offers Ashburton wood burner users a challenge

Environment Canterbury today offered the Ashburton wood burning community a challenge – burn better with no smoke (most of the time) to help clean up the air in Ashburton.

Commissioner David Bedford say Environment Canterbury is responsible for managing air quality across the region and the aim is for everyone to have clean, healthy air.

“Nobody wants to breathe polluted air,’’ he says. “The Government has set national air quality targets to ensure everyone has access to clean air which supports having a healthy community. In Ashburton the target is to have three high pollution nights by 2016 and one by 2020. However, we still have a winter-time air quality problem so we need everyone’s help.’’

“It is possible to operate your wood burner so that there is no visible smoke coming from the chimney,’’ says Mr Bedford. “But is does take more effort and many wood burner users need to learn the craft of lighting and maintaining a hot-burning fire.

“If you have a wood burner, we need your help to clean up the air so will be asking you to learn the art of starting and maintaining a clean burning fire and to share your tips with others through our Facebook page.

“We are also continuing to work with developers and manufacturers to encourage them to develop an ultra-low emission burner which will make reducing air pollution much easier in the longer term.”

Mr Bedford says “One of other the ways we are working to address air quality is a review of the current Air Plan which identifies the activities that we as a community have agreed can and can’t be done.

“During the past 10 years many people have played their part to clean up the air in Ashburton. As a result air quality has improved significantly and the number of high pollution nights has come down from 21 in 2000 to 4 in 2013.

“However, the current air plan has been in place since 2002. A lot has changed since then, so we have been reviewing the plan. We have also been consulting with a wide range of stakeholders, including district councils, health boards and industry to find out what they consider is important and have tried to reflect these views in our review.

One of the issues the Ashburton community has raised is outdoor and stubble burning. The Air Plan review looks at air pollution not just from home heating, but also from industry, rural burning and nuisance such as dust and odour. It proposes ways all sectors of the community can help play their part.

Mr Bedford says “We recognise that issues such as rural burning are important to the Ashburton community and we are asking the community to consider the proposed changes outlined in the Air Plan Review Discussion Document and flyer and give us their feedback on how we should best address these issues across the region”.

Copies of the flyer are being delivered to homes in Canterbury and the discussion document can be found at ecan.govt.nz/air-plan-review or from Customer Services on 0800 329 276.

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