27 Dec 2017

Wood stockpiling call aims to discredit burner ban

3:10 pm on 27 December 2017

A committee fighting a controversial log burner ban in Timaru is urging people to stock up on firewood during the holiday season.

Stafford Street, Timaru

Stafford Street in Timaru Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Canterbury Regional Council introduced the ban in November, despite months of resistance from some residents.

The ban prohibited using log burners older than fifteen years old, in an effort by the regional council to clean up the town's air.

In 2016, the World Health Organisation found Timaru had the worse air pollution in Oceania.

The leader of a committee who opposed the ban, Doug Cleveland, said residents should spend the summer stocking up on dry firewood.

"Get as much wood as you can and let it get dry," he said.

Mr Cleveland said if everyone burnt dry wood, it would prove it was using particular fuel types that caused the air pollution, not simply using a log burner.

"When it is dry, it burns dry and it doesn't have smoke, it doesn't pollute," he said.

He also believed there should be cheaper, easier ways to obtain dry wood.

"The government could subsidise some wood merchants to store more wood so then it could be dry for everyone to burn next winter," he said.

Mr Cleveland hoped the log burner committee could meet with representatives from Canterbury Regional Council in the new year.

The council has said it will not immediately fine residents who do not comply with the ban.

It had also offered subsidies to help people replace their old burner, but is no longer doing so.

"Due to high uptake in 2017, subsidies will not be available until 1 July 2018 in Rangiora, Christchurch, Ashburton, Geraldine, Timaru and Waimate," its website said.

Residents have until 1 January 2019 to apply for a building consent to replace their existing burner with a low emission burner, or face having to purchase a more expensive ultra-low emission burner.

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