Concern as wood-burner deadline looms

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Timaru pensioner Doug Cleveland says he will be left out in the cold as the deadline looms for low-emission log burners.
In the Timaru Clean Air Zone, the deadline to get a consent to replace a wood burner older than 15 years with a low-emission wood burner is October 31.
Use of existing low-emission burners is allowed for up to 15 years or until January 1, 2019, whichever is later.
Open fires can be replaced only with an ultra-low-emission burner, under new Environment Canterbury wood burner-use rules.
Mr Cleveland (85) says he estimates 2000 log burners needing to be replaced in Timaru will cost between $7million and $15million.
His log burner is 17 years old and he says it could cost him up to $7500 to replace.
“I can’t afford it,” he said.
“I believe Timaru residents are being unfairly targeted.”
Grey Power national president Tom O’Connor backed Mr Cleveland’s comments.
“Unfortunately, Environment Canterbury has taken a less than practical or logical approach to the issue which could impose a major cost on people with low or fixed incomes.
ECan councillor Peter Scott said low-income households needing financial assistance to replace their wood burner or open fire could qualify for grants.
“Last year there were 27 high-pollution nights and the Government’s National Environmental Standard target is only one high-pollution night a year from 2020.
“If we are to achieve this target, wood burners cannot go on sending out smoke.
“A smoky chimney usually mean the fire is not hot enough and unburnt firewood is a waste of money and heat.”
Timaru Mayor Damon Odey said ECan had assured him that their initial monitoring was about providing advice on how to burn better and get the most out a log burner.
“We support any ways in which ECan can support low-income households to replace ageing equipment with more modern options.
“Research shows that although our air quality is improving, pollution levels are still too high on too many nights and this can have an effect on our community’s health, particularly the young and old, so we need everyone in the community to do their bit to improve things.”