Five years ago the (then) Environment Protection and Heritage Standing Committee (EPHC) agreed on “the need for a nationally consistent approach to wood heater emissions management”. Since that time the EPHC has been replaced with the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Standing Council on Environment and Water. In April this year, the standing council released a Regulation Impact Statement for a proposal to regulate emissions from wood burners for public consultation. This is a key step in developing Australia’s National Plan for Clean Air which is due to be delivered by the end of 2014. The final Plan will be similar to New Zealand’s (August 2011) National Air Quality Compliance Strategy for meeting the national PM10 standard.
Stakeholder engagement was undertaken but this consisted of only three meetings nationwide – considerably fewer than what is considered typical in New Zealand. Despite this, there has been a surprisingly high level of public interest with a number of personal submissions making heartfelt pleas to government to reduce emissions from wood burners. Having reviewed the document, we made a submission outlining our concerns with the regulation impact statement which we felt could be more compelling.
All submissions can be viewed online here.
But should New Zealand air quality practitioners be feeling smug because our wood burners have been nationally regulated since 2005? Well, not until we get a PM2.5 standard we shouldn’t. At least this is on the cards for Australia whereas we’re still limited to a “monitoring guideline”.