Rotorua residents are being asked for their feedback on proposed rules being formed under a new Regional Air Plan.
The proposed rules could be tough on users of wood burners in Rotorua, including a full ban on backyard fires - except for recreational uses such as hangi, barbecues and braziers - with no new wood burners allowed until after 2018.
The new rules are set to be consulted on by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council with staff presenting an outline of the rules at a meeting of the Rotorua Lakes Council's operations and monitoring committee yesterday.
Only gas and electric heating would be allowed to be installed until 2018 when testing of new ultra-low emission wood burning technology had been completed, councillors were told.
Regional councillor for Rotorua Lyall Thurston said Rotorua had the second worst air quality in New Zealand, behind Christchurch, and the matter was a serious health and wellbeing issue.
The plan also included expanding the Rotorua Urban Airshed, within which the rules apply.
Regional council senior policy analyst Karen Parcell said the council wanted initial feedback before going ahead with an official Resource Management Act submission process that would get underway around November. She said the new rules would not come into force until mid next year, at the earliest.
She said the new rules could be seen as controversial with the possible ban on new wood burners, and by 2031 only ultra-low emission wood burning technology could be used.
Boilers will also be captured under the proposed rules with lower thresholds for emissions and all new boilers would need a resource consent.
To find out more call Karen Parcell on (0800) 884 881, ext 9346, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.