Risk to vul­ner­a­ble fo­cus of fire law

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - By JESS ETHERIDGE

What is the best way to help vul­ner­a­ble Auck­lan­ders heat their homes when a con­tentious fire­place ban comes into play?

This will be the fo­cus of talks be­tween city lead­ers and the Gov­ern­ment.

The Air Qual­ity By­law could af­fect more than 70,000 Auck­land homes as pre-2005 fire­places will not be al­lowed to op­er­ate.

The city’s new an­tipol­lu­tion by­law was pushed back un­til Fe­bru­ary 2015 by Auck­land week.

There was no guar­an­tee from the Gov­ern­ment on fund­ing for the vul­ner­a­ble, a coun­cil spokes­woman says.

It is hoped the talks will see heat­ing op­tions put on the ta­ble, as well as how Auck­land can best meet its le­gal re­quire­ments on na­tional air qual­ity.

‘‘We can­not com­ment fur­ther at this stage un­til th­ese meet­ings have taken place.’’

The Gov­ern­ment has pro-

Coun­cil

last vided in­su­la­tion and other as­sis­tance around New Zealand, she says.

Re­ports of a $20,000 coun­cil fine for any­one who breaks the by­law are in­cor­rect.

‘‘Auck­land Coun­cil has no in­ten­tion of fin­ing any­one $20,000 – we will ed­u­cate and ad­vise peo­ple on heat­ing al­ter­na­tives,’’ she says.

Any fine would be im­posed by the courts, she says.

In­stead, those who use old fire­places after Oc­to­ber 2018 would be told to per­ma­nently block or re­move them.

Res­i­dents were go­ing to have a say on the by­law by pub­lic sub­mis­sion later this year, fol­lowed by hear­ings in Fe­bru­ary.

Air pol­lu­tion and de­clin­ing health are driv­ing the fire­place ban, which was to be in ef­fect from May next year.

The use of coal in in­door fires would also be banned from May 2015. Auck­land has about 58,000 pre-2005 wood­burn­ers.

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