Skip to main content

Changes to air quality deadlines good news for Rotorua

Thursday, 3 February 2011 11:50 a.m.

Rotorua residents will benefit from changes to national air quality standards announced by the Government yesterday.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Rotorua District Council welcomed the changes and congratulated the Government on taking a more realistic and cost-effective approach.

Chairman John Cronin said the changes were good news for Rotorua.

"We now have more time to reach our compliance standards. We have until 2016 to lower exceedences to just three a year and until 2020 to reach one exceedence a year."

"Previously we were expected to reach one exceedence by 2013," he said. "The new deadlines will give us more time for our incentive schemes to work and for the results to be seen in Rotorua."

Mayor Kevin Winters said the approach was more realistic and achievable.

"It's great to see the Government taking notice of what the councils around the country have said. The previous targets were unrealistic and would have been detrimental to our local economy and to homeowners."

Some key changes that are expected to come into force in March 2011 are:

• Splitting target compliance dates depending on the state of air quality in each airshed.  The Rotorua Airshed with more than ten exceedances a year will need to get down to three exceedances by 1 September 2016, and one exceedance by 1 September 2020.  Currently Rotorua records about 40 or more exceedences a year.

• Airsheds with less than ten exceedences annually will need to get down to one exceedence by 2016.

• Recognising the effects of exceptional events such as Australian dust storms, bush fires and volcanic eruptions and excluding them from counting as exceedances

• Prohibiting new solid-fuel open fires in homes in polluted airsheds from September 2012 (gas open fires will still be permitted).

Mr Cronin was pleased to see the Government prohibiting new solid-fuel open fires in homes in polluted airsheds from September 2012 (gas open fires will still be permitted).

"The Government is taking a similar approach to one we've already taken, by banning new open fires in homes."

Last year an Air Quality Control Bylaw was introduced for Rotorua by the Regional Council and Rotorua District Council. In December 2010 the first of three rules came into effect banning the installation of new open fires and non-complying burners.

Ends

The Government's press release is available on the beehive website - http://beehive.govt.nz/release/careful-balance-struck-new-plan-clean-air

For further media information please contact:

Bay of Plenty Regional Council: Yvonne Rooney, Senior Communications Advisor, on 0800 884 880 or 021 289 8380; or Mary-Anne Macleod, Group Manager Strategic Development on 0800 884 880 or 021 923 332.

Rotorua District Council: Rex Moore, Manager Strategic Communications, on 07 348 4199 or 0274 465 465.

Air the Earles Pellet burner lowres