News Flash

29-May-2017, 07:53 am

Wet wood - a no-no

New indoor fire laws will ban Aucklanders from burning wet wood and certain types of coal this winter.

Auckland Council has approved a new bylaw that sets out rules for how residents can use their indoor domestic fires.

From June 1, the Air Quality Bylaw for Indoor Domestic Fires will take effect. It allows Aucklanders to still use their open indoor fires and their current wood burners but restricts what they can burn.

To minimise air pollution the burning of wet wood, painted wood, treated wood, fuel with a high sulphur content, such as certain coals, household rubbish or green waste will be banned.

Auckland has about 58,000 pre-2005 wood burners in homes and 17,000 open fireplaces.

In 2012, a report was presented to Auckland Council that said air pollution was responsible for 200 premature deaths a year. Motor vehicles and domestic fires were considered to be the two largest sources of air pollution in Auckland.

Under the new bylaw, indoor fireplaces must not discharge containments that had negative impacts on human health or on neighbouring properties.

New wood burners installed in a home must meet new regional standards and central government standards set through the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality, designed to protect the health of New Zealanders.

Auckland Council's manager of social policy and bylaws Michael Sinclair said the new bylaw would be in place in time for winter.

"This will be beneficial towards maintaining good air quality across the Auckland region," Sinclair said.

"With the bylaw now approved we are in a better position to help educate Aucklanders about what should and should not be burned in their home fires to minimise harm to their own health, and the health of the environment."

Sinclair said the new bylaw was not as restrictive as the one proposed in 2014, which looked to phase out certain types of indoor fires.

"Back in 2014, Auckland had succumbed to several back-to-back 'still' winters, meaning that pollutants sat lower over the region for longer, thus lowering our air quality.

"Winters since 2014 have not been as still and air quality has improved as a result.

"We no longer have the environmental factors demanding the strict rules for indoor fires that were suggested in 2014, but we do need some rules in order to maintain good air quality and keep building on the improvements in recent years."

 - Stuff


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