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Smoke police may track down rogue burners

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  • Smoke police may track down rogue burners

    Smoke police may track down rogue burners


    We have the PC police, the fashion police and the actual police. And soon Hawke's Bay could have yet another enforcement group patrolling the streets to ensure citizens are behaving - the smoke police.

    They would be charged with making sure that on still, cold nights the people of Napier and, especially, Hastings are not polluting the air by burning solid fuel in open fires and old-fashioned woodburners.

    The Hawke's Bay Regional Council is among about 30 territorial authorities in New Zealand handed a 2013 deadline for improving the quality of air. The council's environmental management committee labelled the Government directive as "irrational", "repugnant" and "ridiculous", but have found themselves with no option but to find ways to see it done.

    It was recommended by staff that the council adopt a range of measures to improve the quality of the winter air, which in Hastings can be particularly bad.

    The problem is PM10 - super-fine particle matter that hangs in the air and can cause respiratory and cardiovascular problems.

    Council staff have come up with three objectives. Both cities would require major changes to many homes - a total cost of $40m has been suggested. The objectives would see the removal of all open fires and non-complying solid-fuel burners from houses in Napier and Hastings, and outdoor burning prohibited. Napier would be required to make sure its 11,000 woodburners were replaced with compliant burners or "clean" heat - electric or gas - alternatives.

    Hastings would have to replace 5000 of its 8800 burners with compliant models, and the rest would need the "clean" option.

    Rules are the first step in achieving the targets, but other methods are likely to be used to try to get the job done, including financial incentives and education programmes. A staff report said it was unlikely "that all households will comply with the proposed measures, meaning that enforcement options need to be considered".

    Environment manager Murray Buchanan said the prospect of smoke police was a "distinct possibility".

    No final decisions have been made.

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  • #2
    Very interesting - a step in the right direction I supose (but one could argue that it is a bit over the top)