Rotorua has the worst winter air quality of any airshed in the North Island. The air quality in Rotorua 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 - wood burners, multi burners and open fires.

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 six 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 insulation you will lose 42 percent of your heat through the ceiling, 24 percent though the walls and 10 percent through the floor. Underfloor insulation 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 to help with the cost of insulation. For more information, see WISE below.

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 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 its previous burner removed at point of sale.

Heating Upgrade Incentives

We have two incentive schemes available to help people who currently have non-compliant home heating that needs replacing. See Hot Swap and Low Income Heating Grant Scheme below.

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:

newburnerrule

1. Restriction on Installation of Solid Fuel Burners

Since 1 December 2010 only clean-air approved wood burners and pellet fires can be installed in homes in the Rotorua airshed.

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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 with solid fuel burners that are NOT clean-air approved. 

openfirerule

 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

Rotorua’s air quality is improving slowly, however, if we continue at the same pace, Rotorua will not meet the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality by 2020. In the past, leniency has been applied to dispensation applications. This will no longer be the case. Dispensations will only be granted in exceptional circumstances. Please access the link below for further information.

Guidelines to Dispensation Applications

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

See the FAQs here.

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.