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New infrared camera technology to help detect illegal wood burners

June 2022

From today, Tuesday 7 June 2022, Bay of Plenty Regional Council Compliance officers will start using new infrared camera technology to help detect illegal non-compliant wood burner use in Rotorua.

The new thermal imaging camera technology detects thermal energy on chimneys and flues which show unlawful use of wood burners. If use of illegal wood burners is identified, Compliance Officers will follow up with the occupants. The cameras do not see-through walls or glass, nor show any human activity within houses.

This compliance monitoring will help ensure everyone is doing the right thing by only using clean and permitted heating.

Regional Council Compliance Manager, Stephen Mellor, says the new thermal imaging cameras support a staged approach to compliance and enforcement in the Rotorua Airshed and acknowledge the community’s continued efforts in improving wintertime air quality.

“Everyone needs to double check their wood burners to ensure that they are legal to use. Clean air is important for whānau, friends and protecting our environment. Please do your bit this winter and if you see our Compliance Officers about, remember they’re part of our community and working towards our collective goal of improving air quality.

These heating rules are in place to protect our most vulnerable to the adverse health effects of air pollution.  The health of our environment and communities is at the heart of what we do.”

Rotorua has historically had some of New Zealand's worst wintertime air quality, largely due to smoke from domestic home heating. Regional Council and the Rotorua community have worked hard to phase out old, inefficient solid fuel wood burners, and have seen notable air quality improvements over the past 15 years. This compliance initiative supports the ongoing efforts to improve air quality in the Rotorua airshed.  To report any smoky fires, please call our 24/7 Pollution Hotline on 0800 884 883.

If any media outlets are interested in an exclusive compliance tour to see the new technology in action, please contact

For more information on our compliance team and the Rotorua airshed, please visit:

To check the legal status of your wood burner, please contact Rotorua Lakes Council and ask if your property has been issued a solid fuel burner building consent.


infrared camera

infrared camera


For further media information, please contact