From 1 January 2019, it won't be possible to get a building consent for a low emission wood burner in five of Canterbury's clean air zones*, including Ashburton.
People in Ashburton, Timaru, Rangiora and Kaiapoi who have an older-style burner that is coming up to its 15-year expiry date and who want to replace it with a low emission burner need to lodge a building consent with their local council by 1 January 2019. Environment Canterbury is encouraging building consents to be lodged before 19 December 2018 to meet the deadline.
The same deadline applies to people with a low emission burner that is coming up to its expiry date (15 years old in Timaru or 20 years old in Christchurch, Ashburton, Rangiora or Kaiapoi) and who want to replace it with another low emission burner.
Building consents for low emission burners will not be issued after January 2019. After January 2019 people can install an ultra-low emission burner at any time. Ultra-low emission burners have no expiry date, are better for the environment and are more efficient. People can also install heat pumps or other forms of electric heating at any time.
Environment Canterbury air quality director, Katherine Trought, said the consent changes are part of the Canterbury Air Regional Plan, which was developed to help with meeting required targets under the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality.
"More and more homes in Canterbury have been moving towards cleaner heating options such as heat pumps or ultra-low emission wood burners, which is good news for our communities. Air quality is important for health and wellbeing and we are looking forward to further gains in this area once the consent changes kick in next year," she said.
"The 1 January 2019 building consent deadline falls in the middle of the holiday period and councils will be closed, so we are encouraging people to lodge their building consents by no later than 19 December 2018 - the sooner the better."
This change follows on from last year's deadline, where people with older-style wood burners that were older than 15 years at that time needed to lodge a building consent by 31 October 2017 if they wanted to replace it with a low emission burner.
Environment Canterbury is offering financial assistance to qualifying ratepayers to meet these changes through the provision of low income subsidies and through Healthier Homes Canterbury, which launches in September 2018. Temporary waivers for non-compliant burners may also be available to some households facing difficult circumstances.
People wanting to find out more about the consent changes should visit www.ecan.govt.nz/2019deadline or contact Environment Canterbury customer services on 0800 329 276.