The Bay of Plenty Regional Council has issued a reminder of changes to regulations around wood burners.

Old wood burners, multi-fuel burners and coal burners installed before September 2005 will become illegal to use in the geographic area known as the Rotorua Airshed from 2020.

This means next winter will be the last in which Rotorua residents will be able to use their old wood burners.

Replacing the old burners will ensure the city meets the Environment Standards for Air Quality.

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Houses in the orange area are in the Rotorua Airshed and are affected by the new rules. Photo / Supplied
Houses in the orange area are in the Rotorua Airshed and are affected by the new rules. Photo / Supplied

Councillor Lyall Thurston said the old wood burners contributed to health issues.

"Our most vulnerable are being affected by these old fires and everybody in the community has to do their part if we are going to fix this issue."

Toi Te Ora Medical Officer of Health Dr Phil Shoemack said smoke from household fires had a major effect on health.

"Smoke affects how our lungs work and is a particular concern for young children, the elderly and people with underlying lung conditions like chronic bronchitis and asthma.

"Every household that converts to a clean source of heating contributes to improving air quality across Rotorua and to the health of everyone in our community."

The council has two schemes set up to help residents replace heating in their homes.

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The Hot Swap Scheme sees the appliance supply and installation costs added on to a property's rates to be paid back over 10 years. Some loans are interest-free and some are interest-bearing.

The Low Income Heating Grant helps homeowners with limited means to upgrade an old fire. To qualify for the grant the household occupants must have a combined annual household income of $50,000 (gross) or less.

For details and to learn about the schemes, visit cleanairrotorua.co.nz or call Bay of Plenty Regional Council on 0800 884 880.

Need to know
• Homeowners using chip heaters, coal ranges, cookers and Marshall heaters have until the end of this year to stop using them. They are technically illegal now but are in a phase-out period.
• Homeowners using coal burners, multi-fuel burners, and pre-Sept 2005 wood burners have until January 31, 2020, to stop using them.
• Government regulations changed on September 1, 2005. If their solid fuel burner was installed before that date it's non-compliant.
• Coal burners and multi-fuel burners installed before or after September 1, 2005, are non-compliant in the Rotorua Airshed.
• Property owners who don't know when their fireplace was installed can phone Rotorua Lakes Council and ask them to check their property file which notes when fires were installed.
• To find out more call the Bay of Plenty Regional Council on 0800 468 792. Or visit www.cleanairrotorua.co.nz.