Burnoffs rile neighbours
Permit not licence to pollute
Central Otago landowners are being investigated by the Otago Regional Council after several complaints were made about large burnoffs polluting the air and causing a nuisance to neighbours. ORC regional services director Jeff Donaldson said the council received 10 complaints in the past week through its Pollution Hotline about the burnoffs producing large volumes of smoke. ‘‘It’s all very well having a fire permit, but that does not mean people can burn whenever they like,’’ Mr Donaldson said. ‘‘People need to read their permit and observe the ORC rules for discharges to air, which primarily means not causing objectionable and offensive smoke beyond a property boundary.’’ Having an outdoor fire permit for a bonfire does not allow landowners to burn indiscriminately and without regard for their neighbours and the environ- ment, he said. ‘‘With reasonably heavy atmospheric conditions and a low inversion layer you don’t get dispersion, all you get is smoke which lingers and pollutes the air,’’ Mr Donaldson said. Landowners needed to factor in prevailing wind conditions when deciding whether to light an outdoor fire, Mr Donaldson said. ‘‘People thinking of burning autumn prunings also must be aware that when there are still conditions, it’s likely to be accompanied by a low inversion layer. ‘‘The smoke will be trapped under the inversion and may well cause a nuisance to neighbours,’’ he said. The ORC will investigate the complaints – which included fires near Cromwell, Alexandra and Clyde – it has received and landowners could face an instant fine of $300 and possibly further enforcement action, depending on the severity of the incident.