Sometimes in the wintertime Rotorua air quality exceeds the safe and acceptable level set by the Ministry for the Environment.

The most vulnerable to the adverse health effects of our air pollution are the very young, the elderly and those who suffer from respiratory conditions such as asthma.

Approximately 228 tonnes of fine particulates are discharged annually into Rotorua's air. We need to reduce this by 60 tonnes to meet the safe and acceptable standards set by the Ministry for Environment.

The biggest source of Rotorua's urban air pollution (58%) is from solid-fuel burners for home heating.

What can you do?

Rotorua's air quality is a community problem and we all need to take action to help clean it up. There are several ways you can make a difference: 

  • Choose clean heating, such as heat pumps, pellet fires and low emission wood burners.
  • Get firewood early.

More than 50 percent of Rotorua households source their firewood well before the winter months, making sure it is ready to burn.

Wood takes at least 12 months to dry, so whether you buy your firewood or collect it, the earlier you get your wood the longer it has to dry.

Dry firewood burns hotter than wet wood so provides more heat for your home. Burning dry wood also creates less pollution.

Insulate your home

Without ceiling and underfloor insulation you can lose up to 42 percent of your heat through the ceiling and 10 percent through the floor. A ground vapour barrier will also help stop moisture getting into your home.

If you get the design and insulation right for your house you won't need as much heating and you can think about installing a smaller more efficient heating system.

Subsidies are available through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority’s (EECA) Warmer Kiwi Homes programme to help with the cost of insulation and heating. To see if you are eligible look on their website.

Wood-burners

If your house is within the Rotorua Airshed and you have a wood burner that was installed before September 2005, then the wood burner is deemed non-compliant and has been illegal to use since 31 January 2020.

All chip heaters, coal ranges, marshall heaters, coal burners and multi-fuel burners are illegal to use since 31 December 2018.

There are also new rules regarding installing a new wood burner in the Rotorua Airshed and installing a wood burner in a property that has had its previous burner removed at point of sale.

Rules

What are we doing about it?

Proposed Plan Change 13, which is the proposed new Regional Air Plan and the Rotorua Air Quality Control Bylaw, both include rules governing the use of solid fuel burners in Rotorua.

If your house is within the Rotorua Airshed and you have a wood burner that was installed before September 2005, then the wood burner is deemed non-compliant and you will not be able to use that wood burner after 31 January 2020.

Chip heaters, coal ranges, marshall heaters, coal burners and multi-fuel burners are also being phased out. These types of burners cannot be used after 31 December 2018.

There are also new rules regarding installing a new wood burner in the Rotorua Airshed and installing a wood burner in a property that has had it's previous burner removed at point of sale. Please click the link below for more details.

Rotorua has serious air pollution problems during winter. The Rotorua Air Quality Control Bylaw will remove solid fuel burners that are not clean-air approved and help improve our air quality.

The rules may affect how you can heat your home.

The bylaw rules:

1. Restriction on Installation of Solid Fuel Burners

Since 1 December 2010 only wood burners and pellet fires listed on the Ministry for the Environment’s Authorised Wood Burner List, that have an emission rate of no more than 0.60 grams of particles per kilogram of dry wood burned (g/kg) can be installed in homes in the Rotorua airshed. 

2. Solid Fuel Burner Change Required at Point of Sale

Since 1 May 2012 you have not been able to sell a property in the Rotorua airshed without removing all non-compliant solid fuel burners prior to settlement day.  

 3. Indoor Open Fires

Indoor open fires have not been able to be used since 1 May 2015.

Area affected by the bylaw

Only properties in the Rotorua Urban Airshed need to comply with the bylaw. See if your property is affected on the map

Dispensations to the Bylaw rules

Bylaw dispensations will only be granted in exceptional circumstances. Please phone 0800 884 880 if you require more information.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

View the FAQs document

Proposed Plan Change 13 (Air Quality) to the Regional Natural Resources Plan

Proposed Plan Change 13 (Air Quality) to the Regional Natural Resources Plan affects air rules across the region. It includes rules govering the use of solid fuel burners in Rotorua.

If your house is within the Rotorua Airshed and you have a wood burner that was installed before September 2005, then the wood burner is deemed non-compliant and you will not be able to use that wood burner after 31 January 2020.

Chip heaters, coal ranges, marshall heaters, coal burners and multi-fuel burners are also being phased out. These types of burners cannot be used after 31 December 2018.

Offsetting Requirements for New Wood Burners within the Rotorua Airshed.

If a wood burner is to be installed within the Rotorua airshed that is NOT replacing an existing wood burner, there are now offsetting rules in addition to the existing building consent and emission rate requirements.

These rules also apply to properties within the airshed that have had their previous wood burner removed at point of sale.

Pollution Hotline

If you are concerned about activities causing air pollution please call our Pollution Hotline on 0800 884 883.