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Time is running out for Rotorua's old solid fuel burners

This winter is the second to last winter Rotorua property owners have before their old wood burners, multi-fuel burners and coal burners will become illegal to use and new regulations come into force.

However, homeowners using chip heaters, coal ranges, cookers and Marshall heaters only have until the end of this year to stop using them. 

Rotorua has a wintertime air quality problem and old burners are by far the biggest issue contributing to this problem. 

On June 1, the air quality on Edmund Rd, Rotorua exceeded safe limits and reached a level which would have heightened respiratory conditions in the area.

There are about 3000 old burners left in Rotorua that were installed before 2006. 

They burn wood or coal inefficiently putting excessive smokey particles into the environment which also affects people’s health, especially the young, elderly and those with respiratory illnesses.

By replacing old wood burners and banning coal ranges, cookers, chip heaters and Marshall heaters less smoke and pollutants end up in the air.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Councillor Lyall Thurston said it is important that all homeowners in the Rotorua area understand that smoke from fires is the main contributor to Rotorua's air pollution and is affecting people’s health.

“Rotorua’s had its first high air pollution day for winter and exceeded the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality.

“The only way we are going to stop this happening is by replacing old solid fuel burners with cleaner burning, new technology. We need to change the type of fires we use.

“It’s an urban myth that everyone burning dry wood will solve Rotorua’s wintertime air pollution. It won’t.” 

“New wood burner technology is designed to produce significantly less smoke and to combat this issue we need to work collectively together as a community."

Mr Thurston said if you have a chip heater, coal range, cooker or Marshall heater in your home, under the new rules homeowners only have until the end of this year to stop using them. 

This is also the second to last winter before it will be illegal to use a fire installed before 2006.  

Homeowners are still allowed to have fires in their home, but they need to be clean air approved burners, he said. 

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Toi Moana has a number of schemes to help homeowners to replace dirty old fuel burners.

To find out more call the Bay of Plenty Regional Council toll-free between the hours of 8 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday on 0800 468 792. Or visit www.cleanairrotorua.co.nz