By-law to clean up the air

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

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.

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