Council supports woodburner plan change

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Decisions on relaxing wood burner rules were supported by Nelson councillors today.

The decision, as first reported by Nelson Live earlier this month aims to bring forward potential changes to the rules on wood burners as requested by the community.

Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese noted that the process had been drawn out due to a lack of good data.

“Some members of the community have been very concerned about the lengthy time frame involved in a full review of the Air Plan. Our lack of good data hasn’t helped the situation. We’re now in a position where we have enough robust information from modelling and monitoring work carried out over the last two winters to support a plan change process.

“A discrete plan change means we’re much more likely to achieve the pre-winter timeframe than a full plan review, though it will be tight. This is a pragmatic decision that offers a much more targeted approach for creating choice around home heating that our community has asked for.

“If there are any appeals to the plan change decision, this could draw out the process, which is outside our control as it is set under the Resource Management Act,” she added.

Planning and Regulatory Committee Chair Brian McGurk said now that the Government has signalled a review on the National Environment Standard (NES) on Air Quality expected in late 2016, it made sense for the full Air Plan review to be carried out when the new NES is available.

“I would encourage anyone with a view on the issue of clean air, warm healthy homes and the use of wood burners to make a submission at the appropriate time. I need to say that people should keep their expectations modest as we are dictated by national guidelines on air quality.”

Officers are working to present a report to Council with the proposed rules on December 17.

The recommendation for a wood burner plan change will go to full Council for a final decision on November 19.