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Eyes out for smoky chimneys

Wednesday, June 06, 2018   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: environment, environmental health, heating

Christchurch City Council Newsline: 5th June 2018

Under the Canterbury Air Regional Plan, no smoke should be visible from a chimney for more than 15 minutes following start-up of a burner, or for more than five minutes when refuelling the burner.

The teams of two will work in the early evenings and will have information flyers to share with residents. They will be wearing Environment Canterbury identity tags and high-vis vests and will be driving Environment Canterbury vehicles.

If the team finds a chimney that is smoking for more than 15 minutes, they will leave information for the household in the letterbox on how to build a smoke-free fire and who to contact for more information or personalised training.

Environment Canterbury staff will not be knocking on doors or accessing private property.

There are no plans to issue fines to people with smoky chimneys. This programme is about working with homeowners to improve air quality.

Environment Canterbury will follow up to see if the same chimneys are smoking at a later date. If chimneys are still found to be smoking on the follow up visit, residents will once again be offered helpful information on reducing chimney smoke.

If no smoke can be seen on the follow up visit, and we can tell from our thermal imaging camera that the wood burner is in use, a note will be left in the letterbox to thank the household for burning smoke-free.

“This programme has been designed to offer residents helpful information so that they can play their part in improving air quality and the health of our communities," said Environment Canterbury air quality implementation team leader Kate Lewis.

“This is not the first year that we have run this programme and it has proved successful in the past. The programme is not about waving a big stick at the problem, it has been developed to help homeowners.

“We are making good progress in achieving improved air quality and this is just one more way that Environment Canterbury can work together with residents to achieve shared goals.

“In 2017, 813 chimneys were seen smoking on our first visit and smoke-free burning information was left in each letterbox. On return visits, we saw less smoke or no smoke coming from many of those chimneys. For us that’s a great result and one that we hope to replicate with this year’s programme,” said Ms Lewis.

Healthy Christchurch Champions

  • Canterbury District Health Board
  • Christchurch City Council
  • Environment Canterbury
  • Ministry of Health
  • Ngai Tahu
  • NZ Police
  • Pegasus Health
  • University of Otago, Christchurch