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Still, cold autumn weather conditions this weekend meant that air pollution from home fires got off to an early start.
It was a grey, chilly weekend so more wood burners would have been used for longer to keep people warm and comfortable at home and, as there was no real wind, the inversion layer kept the smoke close to the ground.
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s recorder at St John’s College in Hastings showed that PM10 levels exceeded National Air Quality Standards on Saturday night/early Sunday morning. The Napier recording site in Marewa also recorded higher levels of air pollution, but at 45 micrograms per cubic metre over the 24 hour average was only just under the National Environmental Standard of 50 micrograms/m3.
PM10 is the size of fine particles that can enter our lungs and can result in health problems, especially for people with respiratory conditions.
Both Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority (EECA) operate funding programmes to help people retrofit homes built before 2000 with insulation and cleaner heating equipment, such as latest model low emission wood burners, pellet burners and heat pumps.
People can contact authorised service providers for a free assessment of existing insulation and options for cleaner heating and to apply for funding.
More than 200 applications have been approved for funding through Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s Heat Smart programme since the scheme began in November 2009. Service providers in Hawke’s Bay are reporting a good take up of the programme, but they are able to handle more homes leading up to winter.
A list of local service providers can be found on the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council site, search under Heat Smart.
The first exceedence last year was on May 29.