19 Sep 2017

Timaru residents heckle minister over log burner ban

5:45 pm on 19 September 2017

Angry Timaru residents heckled Environment Minister Nick Smith at a meeting about the city's looming log burner ban this morning.

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Timaru residents will be banned from using all log burners installed before 2002 from October. Photo: 123rf.com

Canterbury Regional Council is banning all log burners more than 15 years old by the end of October, in an effort to reduce air pollution.

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Environment Minister Nick Smith Photo: Rebekah Parsons-King

Dr Smith addressed a crowd of about 100 Timaru residents this morning, promising to open a discussion after the election about how to best deal with air quality.

He said he would not - and could not - compel the regional council to change the October deadline.

Some in the crowd were not impressed, saying the council was his responsibility as Environment Minister.

Others said there were other measures that could be taken to improve air quality, such as limiting coal burning at local businesses.

A Canterbury regional councillor said the timeline to ban old log burners in Timaru will not change.

Peter Scott said the ban was part of a plan to deal with air pollution which was put in motion more than a decade ago.

"This community here in Timaru is feeling the pain of that, and they're a bit upset and I can see why they're upset. I think they're seeing what the reality is in terms of trying to clean up the air in Timaru."