New in­door fire by­law takes ef­fect

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - CATRIN OWEN

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 pre2005 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-to­back ‘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.’’

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