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New rule means buyers and sellers must check fires

Friday, 16 September 2011 10:33 a.m.

With spring in the air and the property market heating up Rotorua property buyers are urged to remember that a new rule banning the selling of homes with open fires and non-compliant solid fuel burners starts next year.

The Rotorua Air Quality Control Bylaw and in particular the Point of Sale Rule mean that from  1 May 2012 properties in the Rotorua airshed cannot be sold with solid fuel burners that do not meet clean air standards. 

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Sustainable Development Manager Kataraina Maki said property buyers needed to be aware that if they bought a property with an old wood burner or open fire before then they may ultimately be responsible for its upgrade.

The bylaw includes open fires, freestanding or built-in wood burners, potbelly stoves, coal ranges, water heaters and solid fuel burning central heating systems.

A solid fuel burner is compliant if it meets the heating efficiency and emission standards set by the Ministry for the Environment, Ms Maki said. 

"These standards came into effect on 1 September 2005 so the majority of wood burners installed after this date are clean air approved.  But open fires are not and must be disabled if a property is sold after May 2012," she said.

Rotorua has the worst wintertime air quality in the North Island, mainly caused by home heating using old wood burners and open fires.   Upgrading homes to clean home heating will help improve our air quality.

To help homeowners with the cost of upgrading the Regional Council offers the Rotorua Hot Swap loan to convert to clean heat.

If you are not sure if your fire meets the clean air standard call 0800 468 792 or visit boprc.govt.nz.

ENDS.

For further media information please contact Senior Communications Advisor Yvonne Rooney on 0800 884 881 ext 9379 or 021 289 8380.

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