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Wood burner rules to help Rotorua breathe easier

New rules to help improve air quality in Rotorua come into force today (January 31) but help is still available for those wanting to switch to a cleaner form of heating for their homes.

The new rules, which have been more than a decade in the making, mean you can no longer use wood burners installed before 1 September 2005 in the Rotorua Airshed. All coal and multifuel burners will also be illegal to use, regardless of when they were installed. Chip heaters, Marshall heaters, coal ranges, cookers and indoor open fires are already illegal to use.

Senior Regulatory Project Officer Marion Henton says the new rules are about helping to improve Rotorua’s poor air quality in winter, and changes are already noticeable as more people switch to cleaner forms of heating.

“Bay of Plenty Regional Council has been working with the Rotorua community to prepare for these changes and since 2008 we’ve helped almost 3000 property owners replace their non-compliant burners with either a compliant wood burner or alternative heating.”

Ms Henton is encouraging those who will be impacted by the rules to start thinking about how they will heat their homes this winter and talk to Regional Council about the options available to them.

“Help is still available and there are options for everyone. In some cases, free replacement heating is available for Community Service Cardholders with non-compliant burners. It’s important for people to talk to us early, so they are sorted by the time the temperature drops.”

“We encourage anyone who is having trouble to talk to us so we can help them through the process.”

Ms Henton says Rotorua has a wintertime air quality problem and it is typically the most vulnerable in the community who suffer with the high levels of smoke pollution.

“Rotorua still has a way to go but thanks to the thousands of homeowners who have upgraded their old fires the community is noticing the difference.”