24 Jul 2014

Air blowers proposed to break up smog

5:19 pm on 24 July 2014

The Otago Regional Council is to investigate whether large air blowers could break up smog in Central Otago towns like Alexandra.

The idea comes after a council meeting on Thursday morning which was told its policies are not bringing down air pollution fast enough to meet government rules.

The regional council has been subsidising cleaner wood-burners and cracking down on the most blatant chimneys, but it has not been enough.

Councillor Trevor Kempton said the core issue was Alexandra's climate and winter inversion layers, and urged the council to look at whether windmills or air blowers could be used, the way vineyards do, to ward off frost.

Councillor Michael Deaker said the idea was the sort of out-of-the-box thinking that should be pursued.

He said it might be possible to build on the natural air movement of the Clutha River with engineering projects to change the atmospheric conditions.

The council also debated whether to crack down harder on coal burning, open fires and the 600 non-compliant wood burners people in Central Otago are still using, but did not make any decisions on Thursday.