Time runs out for consents

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - MATTHEW SAL­MONS

New reg­u­la­tions have seen the num­bers of wood burner consents sky­rocket in Ash­bur­ton this year, but Sel­wyn has stayed the course as it is un­der a dif­fer­ent rule-set.

Un­der new En­vi­ron­ment Can­ter­bury clean air reg­u­la­tions, res­i­dents in the Ash­bur­ton Clean Air Zone were given un­til Oc­to­ber 31 to lodge any needed con­sent for a low emis­sion wood burner. Any consents lodged af­ter that date would need to be for an ul­tra-low emis­sion model.

The Ash­bur­ton District Coun­cil (ADC) is­sued 138 consents for wood burn­ers last month, and had 242 ap­pli­ca­tions still to process fol­low­ing an in­flux of ap­pli­ca­tions that were lodged be­fore the dead­line.

The Sel­wyn district, un­der Re­gion Wide (‘Out­side of a Clean Air Zone’) reg­u­la­tions, only re­quired that any wood burner con­sented met the Na­tional En­vi­ron­men­tal Stan­dards for Air Qual­ity and had no dead­line on consents for low emis­sion burn­ers.

ADC build­ing ser­vices man­ager Michael Wong said the cut­off date had seen coun­cil staff in­un­dated with ap­pli­ca­tions, par­tic­u­larly with last minute en­tries as the dead­line loomed.

‘‘On Mon­day and Tues­day (Oct 30 and 31) alone, we re­ceived 154 ap­pli­ca­tions. Com­pared with 2016, where we is­sued 360 consents be­tween Jan­uary and Oc­to­ber, this year we’ll have is­sued around 750, which really puts things into per­spec­tive.

‘‘We have been kept in­cred­i­bly busy pro­cess­ing these ap­pli­ca­tions, and we still have plenty to do in the com­ing weeks,’’ Wong said.

Those who re­ceived or ap­plied for a con­sent by Oc­to­ber 31 had one year to be­gin in­stal­la­tion and an­other year to com­pete the work. Once done, coun­cil would in­spect the work, is­su­ing a cer­tifi­cate of com­pli­ance if the wood burner met the stan­dard.

A Sel­wyn District Coun­cil spokesman said peak con­sent­ing num­bers for new burn­ers were gen­er­ally in April or May each year. He said that un­like Ash­bur­ton, there had been no ob­vi­ous in­crease in num­bers this year. In 2016 there were 394 wood burner consents is­sued, either for low emis­sion or ul­tra-low emis­sion mod­els.

This year be­tween Jan­uary and Oc­to­ber there had been 315 consents is­sued, 10 of those in Oc­to­ber, with six more to process.

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