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ENVIRONMENT

New air quality rule
Saturday 28 April 2012, 5:03AM
By Rotorua District Council
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ROTORUA

From Tuesday a new rule prohibits the sale of properties with solid fuel burners that do not meet clean air standards.

The point of sale rule is part of the Rotorua Air Quality Control bylaw established in 2010 to help clean up Rotorua's air.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Group Manager Strategic Development Fiona McTavish said anyone buying or selling a house in Rotorua needed to check any appliance that burned wood, pellets or coal to make sure it was a clean air appliance.

"Rotorua has serious air quality issues mainly caused by home heating with old wood burners and open fires. To reduce our air pollution it's crucial we remove polluting appliances," she said.

"Based on current real estate sales figures we believe this rule will remove around 400 polluting appliances in Rotorua in just one year.

"This will help reduce the city's air pollution levels," Ms McTavish said.

A solid fuel burner is any appliance that burns coal or wood. Clean air-approved wood burners produce less pollution than older burners and are more efficient at providing heat.

Clean air appliances are those that meet Ministry for the Environments heating efficiency and emission rating standards. All freestanding and insert wood burners installed after 1 September 2005 should be clean air approved.

Because of the fuel material and the way they burn, no open fire, pot belly stove, cooker, coal range, marshal heater, chip heater or multi-fuel burner (burns coal and wood) meets clean air standards.

"To comply with the Bylaw, anyone selling a home must remove any freestanding or insert burners from the property and open fires need to be blocked off before the property settlement," Ms McTavish said.

"If sellers decide not to replace the burner or fire they've removed or permanently decommissioned, they should complete a Point of Sale Rule Bylaw Compliance Form so that the new owner can apply for the Hot Swap loan," she said.

The compliance form is available from the Regional Council or from any real estate agency. The Hot Swap loan is an interest free loan available from the Regional Council to upgrade older polluting burners to clean heat.

To find out more information on how to tell if a wood burner is clean air approved, pick up the "Buyers and Sellers Guide to the Point of Sale Rule" from the Regional Council's Te Arawa St, Rotorua office or view the guide online here.

The Bylaw is part of the Rotorua Air Quality Action Plan to remove 60 tonnes of fine particulates to meet Ministry for the Environment's National Environmental Standards for Air Quality. Rotorua currently has the worst air quality in the North Island and this causes health issues, particularly in the young, the elderly and those already with conditions such as asthma or heart disease.

Since April 2010 when the rule was notified, Regional Council has been working with the local real estate industry to ensure that agents, buyers and sellers understand the new requirements.

"Between our rules and our interest free loan to change to cleaner heating we are taking important steps to clean up Rotorua's air."






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