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Rotorua's smokey fires in the spotlight

Rotorua's smokey fires in the spotlight #beatairpollution

June 5, 2019

With a cold snap to welcome us to winter 2019, Bay of Plenty Regional Council is reminding homeowners in the Rotorua Airshed that this is the last winter households can use non-compliant wood and coal burners.

The call comes on the back of World Environment Day with the UN calling on all countries to come together to beat air pollution. #beatairpollution

Rotorua has a wintertime air quality problem which is caused by burners which burn wood or coal and emit PM10 particulate matter.

The pollution affects the most vulnerable in the community including the elderly, young children and those with pre-existing respiratory and heart conditions are most at risk when air pollutants are high.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Senior Regulatory Project Officer Marion Henton said there were roughly 3000 non-compliant wood and coal burners left in the Rotorua Airshed which cannot be used after January 31, 2020.

“For over ten years we have been working on this complex issue with the help of Rotorua Lakes Council, the local community and other key stakeholders to upgrade and replace old, smoky fires to cleaner-burning technology.

“Thousands of Rotorua homeowners have upgraded their old fires to cleaner-burning technology and have helped clean up the air. This has made a difference but we still have a way to go to meet the safe and acceptable standards set by the central government.

Mrs Henton said the Bay of Plenty Regional Council has two schemes that help homeowners remove and replace non-compliant burners.

The Hot Swap Scheme:

To improve Rotorua's air quality, old wood/coal burners can be swapped for electric heating and low and ultra-low emission wood burners.

Hot Swap is a loan offered to Rotorua ratepayers whose properties are in the Rotorua Airshed. Appliance supply and installation cost goes onto the property rates and can be paid back over ten years. Some loans are interest-free and some are interest-bearing.

The Low Income Heating Grant:

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council also offers a free Ultra-Low Emission Burner or Heat Pump to owner-occupiers who meet certain criteria.

What is a non-complaint wood burner?

If your house is within the Rotorua Airshed and you have a wood burner that was installed before September 1 2005, then the wood burner is deemed non-compliant and you will not be able to use that wood burner after 31 January 2020.

Indoor open fires, chip heaters, coal ranges and Marshall heaters are illegal to use now.

To see if your home is located in the Rotorua Airshed boundary please head here. For more information head to Clean Air Rotorua.


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