Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Smoky winter fires ramp up complaints

Smoky winter fires ramp up complaints

27 June 2014

Smoky outdoor fires on cool days are ramping up the number of complaints being made to Bay of Plenty Regional Council about smoke nuisance.

And the number of complaints could easily be reduced if people managed fires well and understood the rules about what can be burned, Regional Council Pollution Prevention Officer Chris Brewer says.

The Regional Council received 10 smoky fire complaints on one day at the end of May, and all but one were caused by burning green vegetation.

“All of the alleged offenders claimed they did not know it was against best practice to burn green vegetative material. The prime cause of smoky fire complaints is the lack of awareness about the rules under the region’s Air Plan and management of fires,” he said.

The Regional Air Plan sets out rules that control the environmental effects of burning. Getting a fire permit from local city or district councils does not allow people to create a smoke nuisance or ignore the rules. District and city councils and the Fire Service manage fire bans and permits.

Mr Brewer said a smoky fire was a sure sign that waste material was being burned incorrectly.

“We are finding that many offenders are burning green waste that has not dried or seasoned, especially on orchards and in rural areas. Over winter the air is cooler, especially in the morning and early evening, and this creates an inversion layer where smoke is not able to rise.”

“Fires are being lit too close to roads and highways which can become hazardous for drivers. When green material is burnt wet it increases the amount of particulates in the air which can reduce visibility.”

He said people often complained because of the nuisance smoke could generate. Concerns included strong odour, people not being able to hang washing out, ash deposited on property and general annoyance. Others have complained about thick smoke exacerbating health issues, such as asthma.

He said people needed to ensure that offensive levels of smoke from fires did not travel across property boundaries.

“If people checked what they are burning, where they set fires and made sure that smoke didn’t cross their own property boundary then there would be fewer complaints,” he said.

It is illegal to burn chemicals, food waste, metals, paints, animal carcases, pesticides, plastic, rubber, treated timber, waste oil or anything that could produce toxic gases. The Regional Council’s Smoke Sense brochure provides information about fires, what can be burned and a summary of the rules about open fires.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Closing Schools And Such: Interim Redcliffs Decision Announced

“While the school’s board has argued that circumstances that could give rise to potential disruption are extremely unlikely, advice from technical experts has shown these concerns cannot be ruled out." More>>


Jane Kelsey: High Court Can’t Make Groser Provide TPPA Information Faster

‘This week we went back to court to challenge Trade Minister Groser’s stalling tactics over the release of information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations, following a High Court order that he reconsider the Official Information Act request I made last January’, said University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey, first applicant in the case. More>>

Werewolf 58: No Climate For Change

The last time the global community tried to take collective action on climate change the world’s leaders finally came to agree that every not-too-onerous effort should be made to hold global warming to 2°C above the pre-industrial average. At Paris, all 150 participant countries nations will have put forward their pledges... On the information available, New Zealand's is the second weakest contribution of any nation in the developed world. More>>


Lambton Quay Shutdown: Object Was Made To Look Like Bomb

Police cordoned off part of Lambton Quay Wednesday afternoon, saying that a suspicious package had been found. Buildings were evacuated and buses were detoured. The army’s explosive ordnance disposal unit was brought to the Quay. More>>


Public Sector Still Shrinking: Record Low Number Of 'Backroom Bureaucrats'

Ongoing restraint in the public sector and a focus on better frontline services has seen a further reduction in the number of core Government employees, State Services Minister Paula Bennett says. More>>


Disobeying The Law: Police Censorship Of Crime Research “An Outrage”

The Green Party is calling on Police Minister Michael Woodhouse to ensure Police scrap controversial contracts that place onerous restrictions on academic researchers’ access to Police data, the Green Party says. More>>


Q+A Transcript: Groser ‘Not Expecting’ Failure At UN Climate Talks

‘I will be very surprised if we don’t get an agreement. I think it’s a completely different situation to Copenhagen for a number of reasons. We’ve got a much more realistic negotiating proposal on the table. Secondly, I think the science has strengthened...’ More>>


Greenpeace Protest:

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news