Lobby pitches retro­fit burner pro­posal

South Canterbury Herald - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS -

A res­i­dents lobby group op­posed to con­tro­ver­sial wood burner rules has out­lined its po­si­tion to a pair a gov­ern­ment min­is­ters as the cam­paign for change in­ten­si­fies.

The South Canterbury Re­gional Air Plan Li­ai­son Com­mit­tee has writ­ten to the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­siter Anne Tol­ley and En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Nick Smith ask­ing for ad­vice and as­sis­tance. It has also writ­ten to En­vi­ron­ment Canterbury mem­bers, out­ling its con­cerns about what it calls a ‘‘flawed’’ sec­tion of the Canterbury Air Re­gional Plan .

The op­poses the rule which says burn­ers 15 years or older can­not be used and which re­quires own­ers still want­ing a burner to re­place them with low emis­sion types. House­hold­ers want­ing to re­place their old burn­ers have un­til Oc­to­ber 31 to ap­ply for build­ing con­sent to re­place them with a low emis­sion one.

Af­ter that date, they will have to re­place them with po­ten­tially more costly ul­tra-low emis­sion types.

Group chair­man Mark Rogers con­firmed the group had writ­ten to the min­is­ters and coun­cil­lors. It hoped to hear di­rectly from the de­ci­sion mak­ers, rather than those tasked with en­forc­ing a plan de­vel­oped when ECan was not an elected body.

At the same time, Na­tional Party Ran­gi­tata can­di­date An­drew Fal­loon was ar­rang­ing a time for Smith to visit Ti­maru to at­tend a public meet­ing on the clean air rules.

The group re­mained of the view that the coun­cil did not have the atatu­tory power to re­quire peo­ple to re­place a heater, say what sort must be in­stalled ior re­quier any burner not be used. That needed to be con­sid­ered by the politi­cians, he said

The group, which was formed last month, has heard of peo­ple wor­ried they will suf­fer un­due hard­ship if they had to re­place burn­ers they con­sider per­fectly clean burn­ing.

Many peo­ple re­mained sure the way for­ward was to al­low prop­erly qual­i­fied peo­ple to retro­fit old burn­ers to make them clean air com­pli­ant.

Ecan main­tains this is nei­ther cost ef­fec­tive or prac­ti­cal, and re­mains out­side the scope and in­tent of the clean air plan rule.

But group mem­ber Doug Cleve­land said such work ought to be pos­si­ble with­out costly work and with­out the need to test each burner, as Ecan has pre­vi­ously main­tained.

Group sec­re­tary Tom, O’Con­nor said the group will ask ECan to con­sider al­low­ing retrofits as a dis­cre­tionary ac­tiv­ity re­quir­ing a re­source con­sent and in­spec­tion. That would main­tain the­p­ush for clean air while help­ing peo­ple avoid po­ten­tially sig­nif­i­cant cost, he said.

O’Connopr said the com­mit­tee con­tin­ued to doubt the sig­nif­i­cance of the con­tri­bu­tion wood burn­ing home heaters had to air

pol­lu­tion in Ti­maru. How­ever, it was clear the air needed to be cleaner.

ECan air portfolio di­rec­tor Kather­ine Trought said it re­mained the coun­cil’s po­si­tion that retrofitting burn­ers was not pos­si­ble un­der the air plan rules.

ECan re­mained ready to meet the li­ai­son com­mit­tee, to fur­ther ex­plore its po­si­tion and the in­for­ma­tion it had to demon­strate its views.

The coun­cil con­tin­ued to have con­struc­tive talks with burner re­tail­ers, she said.

PHOTO: JOHN BIS­SET/STUFF

South Canterbury Re­gional Air Plan Li­ai­son Com­mit­tee mem­bers Tom O’Con­nor, Mark Rogers and Doug Cleve­land want politi­cians to be­come in­volved in the wood burner dis­cus­sion.

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