Clean Air By­law com­ing...

South Waikato News - - FARMING -

What is the prob­lem?

Toko­roa has air qual­ity is­sues that we have to im­prove. The level of dirty air par­tic­u­larly dur­ing win­ter is too high; and ex­ceeds na­tional stan­dards. We need to get it un­der con­trol for two rea­sons: the health of our com­mu­ni­ties and more jobs for our peo­ple.

What about our health?

Dirty and smokey air is caused by old fires and what we put in them to burn. This nasty air is hurt­ing us ALL. It is dam­ag­ing to our lungs, es­pe­cially for chil­dren and the el­derly; and is hav­ing a bad ef­fect on our health. The health sta­tus of peo­ple liv­ing in Toko­roa is the poor­est in the en­tire re­gion. Can we continue to harm our­selves and our neigh­bours in this way? No!

What about jobs and em­ploy­ment (eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment)?

If we don’t clean up our dirty air, new busi­nesses or in­dus­try may not be able to set up in Toko­roa. There is a real pos­si­bil­ity that we will lose new busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties, which means los­ing out on new jobs, new in­come, new de­vel­op­ment. Can Toko­roa af­ford to do this? No!

Why do we need a by­law?

Be­cause ev­ery­thing else has al­ready been put in place... and we still need to do bet­ter! Ed­u­ca­tion pro­grammes have been in place in this dis­trict since 2004. Fully funded schemes and sub­si­dies (in­clud­ing free in­su­la­tion and as­sis­tance schemes) have been in place since 2005. Over the past eight years over a mil­lion dol­lars through Coun­cil, Re­gional Coun­cil, Dis­trict Health Board and Cen­tral Gov­ern­ment has been spent in Toko­roa on clean­ing up our air. AND NOW, as a last op­tion, we’re in­tro­duc­ing a by­law. This will be open for pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion in Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber.

What will the by­law mean to me?

In sim­ple terms if you have an old wood­burner (over 15 years old), a chip­pie, an open fire or a fire that can burn multi-fu­els like coal you need to re­place this ap­pli­ance with a new gov­ern­ment ap­proved heat­ing ap­pli­ance. Op­tions avail­able are new wood burn­ers, pel­let burn­ers and heat pumps.

What will it cost?

The cost is de­pen­dent on the ex­ist­ing ap­pli­ance, re­moval, re­place­ment and the sub­si­dies you may be el­i­gi­ble for. Costs can only be cal­cu­lated on as­sess­ment.

What if I can’t af­ford it?

There are a num­ber of schemes in place to help you make this pos­i­tive change. And we have a year to get this sorted, the pro­posed dead­line for com­pli­ance is Novem­ber 2013.

Where can I get more in­for­ma­tion?

Contact Coun­cil on 07 885 0340 or visit www.south­waikato.govt.nz.

We have fo­cused on Toko­roa in this ad­vert, and that’s be­cause it is the big­gest prob­lem area; how­ever this by­law ap­plies to the Toko­roa and Pu­taruru ur­ban air­sheds. So far this win­ter Pu­taruru has had no ex­ceedances, which is great news. Toko­roa how­ever has al­ready had 14, this is not track­ing well when com­pared to pre­vi­ous years.

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