By-law to clean up the air
During a recent South Waikato District Council meeting it was moved that a clean air by-law be created.
Council recognises that a bylaw is the most appropriate means of improving air quality in the Tokoroa and Putaruru areas to achieve compliance with the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality (NESAQ).
Reasons given for the high level of PM10, notably in Toko- roa, include very cold winters, the town’s topography which captures emissions, rather than allowing wind dispersal and there is relatively easy access to firewood, which results in open fires or wood burners being an easy and cost- friendly way of heating homes.
Since 2004 the council has had education programmes in place and subsidies, including free insulation and assistance schemes since 2005.
South Waikato chief executive David Hall said given all the steps put in place, the air quality has not improved enough, so the bylaw is the necessary next step .
‘‘Over the past eight years over a million dollars has been spent in Tokoroa on cleaning up our air.’’
During the meeting council’s environment group manager Sharon Robinson said the bylaw is going to require homeowners who have not taken advantage of the subsidy or free insulation to replace any non-compliant home fires.
She said if residents have a fire that does not meet national regulations, then it needs to be replaced, decommissioned and removed from the home.
The proposed Clean Air Bylaw will be open for public consultation in October and November.