Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Environmental Issues

Air - NSW overview

Clean Air for NSW

Clean Air Summit 

The NSW Government held a Clean Air Summit on 27 June 2017. Approximately 315 air quality stakeholders attended.

Environment Minister, Gabrielle Upton gave the opening address which focused on the Government’s commitment to improve air quality across NSW. Speakers from the health sector, research, industry and public sectors also presented.

The EPA and Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) are leading the development of the Clean Air for NSW strategy on behalf of the government. The Summit formed part of stakeholder consultation on the Strategy and followed release of the Clean Air for NSW Consultation Paper for public comment in late 2016.

Stakeholder Survey

Until 31 July 2017, air quality stakeholders are invited to complete an online survey to help further inform the development of Clean Air for NSW.

Consultation Paper

The Clean Air for NSW Consultation Paper presents a proposed approach and actions for government to meet its goal of improving air quality across NSW. The EPA sought community and stakeholder feedback on the Consultation paper from 28 October 2016 to 20 January 2017.

The EPA received 133 separate stakeholder submissions. Six submissions requested confidentiality. The EPA also received campaign submissions which, taken together, comprised of more than 1,240 individual emails and comments.

The EPA has treated each submission as a public document unless the author requested confidentiality.

The EPA may draw upon the contents of the submissions and quote from them or refer to them in publications, however, the views expressed in the submissions remain those of the individual author or organisation. They do not represent the views of  the EPA.

For any enquiries please contact EPA Environment Line on:
Phone: 131 555 (or (02) 9995 5555 from outside NSW)
Email: info@environment.nsw.gov.au

List of submissions

The EPA is committed to open and transparent processes, however, steps have been taken to remove the personal information of authors and any potentially defamatory comments. In some cases an author requested their name be withheld and these submissions are published under "Name Withheld"

Summaries of submissions

 All submissions received were reviewed by the EPA and the main issues raised were summarised. The summaries do not represent the views of the EPA, nor are they a complete record of stakeholder views.

Coal chain emissions

Coal chain emissions

Key themes

Coal mining

  • Many submissions/campaign letters want the Government not to approve any new or expanded coal mines, particularly in the Hunter region. Many call for phasing out of coal mining and shifting to renewable energy sources.
  • A number of submissions called for stronger regulation of coal mines, including tighter controls on operators to reduce and manage dust, and fumes from mine blasts.
  • Some submissions called for NEPM air quality standards to be incorporated in assessment criteria for new major projects and for mechanisms to address cumulative impacts.
  • Some submissions, particularly from community members, call on the Government to give greater consideration to the World Health Organization’s listing of particulate matter as a carcinogen when developing clean air policy goals and actions.
  • Setbacks and/or larger buffer zones were called for between open cut mines and residential areas, to reduce impacts on local residents.
  • Strong support emerged amongst community and environment groups for the option outlined in the Consultation Paper, of extending the EPA’s load-based licensing (LBL) scheme to coal mines in NSW.
  • Industry submissions on the other hand claimed that the application of LBL to mining would be complex, inefficient and largely ineffective in further reducing emissions. Many industry submissions argue that existing regulatory tools have been demonstrated to effectively manage emissions.
  • Industry submissions generally argued against increased regulation including of coal mining and transport, energy generation and non-road diesel machinery used at coal mines and locomotives.
  • Some industry submissions view the attention to coal mining and transport emissions as disproportionate and argue for greater focus on wood heater emissions given the significant contribution of wood smoke to air pollution in NSW.

Coal dust and transport

  • Numerous submissions, including campaign letters, call for coal train wagons (and coal stockpiles at end of transport lines) to be covered to reduce dust emissions. However, industry claims that the existing evidence of coal dust/particle emissions from coal transport is insufficient to justify this as a priority action.
  • Numerous submissions support the development of a mine rehabilitation framework to reduce dust emissions. Others claim there is insufficient evidence that this is a significant pollution source, and it should not be a priority under Clean Air for NSW.

Power station emissions

  • Many submitters called for greater Government effort to close coal-fired power stations and shift to renewable energy.
  • There was criticism that the Consultation Paper lacked discussion of specific actions to address greenhouse gas emissions.
  • A number of submissions called for NSW to adopt standards for sulfur and nitrogen emissions for power stations as introduced in the United States, European Union and China.
  • Industry submissions noted that OEH’s Climate Change Fund Draft Strategic Plan identifies that transition away from coal-fired power generation is already underway, and this should be factored into any cost benefit analysis and prioritisation of actions in Clean Air for NSW.
  • One submitter stated that the Upper Hunter Particle Characterisation Study found ‘zero evidence’ of elevated sulfur levels from power station emissions, and that investment in HELE (high efficiency/low emission) coal-fired electricity generation in countries we export to should be encouraged.

Research

  • Some submissions suggest that there is a gap in knowledge regarding economic costs of precursors that ultimately contribute to secondary particles formation.
  • There was a call for research into mining blasts and their impacts, to ascertain a safe setback from mines to residential areas.
  • There were also calls for further monitoring and studies regarding particle emissions from coal transport.
  • Some called for a further investigation of the associations between fine particle exposure and diseases reported by residents in areas of the Upper Hunter.
  • Some industry submissions state there is a lack of credible scientific evidence to justify regulatory proposals.

Coal seam gas mining

  • Some submissions called for banning of coal seam gas mining in NSW.

Co-benefits from energy efficiency and climate change adaptation actions

Co-benefits from energy efficiency and climate change adaptation actions

Key Themes

Households

  • Some submissions call for solar power to be compulsory for all new housing, including in public housing.
  • Calls were made for incentives for home insulation and encouragement of domestic renewable energy sources e.g. solar, battery storage.
  • A number of the submissions call for adequate public transport to be provided in urban consolidation and land release areas, including requirements for public transport, footpaths and cycleways to be in place before occupancy.

For additional comments on household energy use see Wood Smoke summary.

Industry

  • Many submissions call for coal to be phased out so as to reduce CO2 emissions, and transfer to renewable resources in order to meet national and global commitments e.g. coal-power free by 2030 to meet Paris commitments.
  • The majority of the campaign letter submissions call on the Government not to approve any new or expanded coal mines.
  • Some submissions call for the Government to stop subsidies and funding of coal-based research and schemes.
  • There is widespread community and environment group support for applying load-based licensing (LBL) to coal mines, increasing LBL fees and introducing a carbon LBL or tax scheme, although industry groups consider that industry is already subject to tight controls despite a diminishing contribution to air pollution.
  • There are calls for increased incentives for businesses to adopt greater energy-saving technology, e.g. adoption of electric engines in business vehicle fleets.
  • Criticism was made of the lack of specific action to address greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power stations in the Clean Air for NSW Consultation Paper.
  • Submissions raised the need for policy consistency between Clean Air for NSW and other Government plans.

Energy

  • Many submissions and the majority of campaign letters support closure of coal-fired power stations and a carefully planned and managed transition to renewable energy – including wind, solar and batteries, etc.
  • Industry submissions note that transition from coal-fired power generation is already underway and that existing plant has known closure dates. They urge that Government policy be based on a “technology-neutral” approach that achieves baseload security and rewards least cost energy production and emissions reduction – rather than technology-specific abatement programs to encourage uptake of renewable energies.
  • Gas company submissions see an important role for natural gas in transitioning electricity generation to lower carbon emissions while maintaining energy security.
  • Several community submissions called for more Government funding into research into cleaner energy alternatives, promotion of energy efficiency and climate change actions.

Transport and zero emission vehicles

  • Many submissions call for the increased uptake of zero emission vehicles, including electric vehicles.
  • Calls were made for infrastructure for electric vehicles to be planned and developed in anticipation of increased uptake to allow for mode shift, and for electric vehicles to be powered from renewable energy sources.
  • Submissions supported a mode shift for freight from road to rail transport.
  • There are calls for introduction of fast trains to Melbourne and Brisbane to reduce the number of flights.

For more information on zero emissions vehicles, including electric vehicles and Transport and climate links. See the Transport summary.

Climate change

  • Many submissions recognise a link between increased air pollution and climate change and call on Government to do all it can to reduce emissions in order to reduce the impact of climate change on households and businesses in NSW.
  • The increased risk of bushfires is one impact from climate change referred to regularly in submissions. For more information about bushfires see the Hazard Reduction Burning summary.
  • Comments included that air quality co-benefits from Government action on energy and climate change are not adequately addressed in the Consultation Paper.
  • Submissions called for Government to promote energy efficiency and climate change actions and for the issues of climate change and global warming to be considered together with the public health impacts of air pollution.
  • A number of submissions call for urban greening and increased urban tree canopy to combat the effects of climate change and heat sinks, while also reducing particle pollution.

Hazard reduction burning

Hazard reduction burning

Key themes

Managing and communicating health impacts

  • There is concern about the frequency and impacts of hazard reduction burning (HRB) and support for Government prioritising action to reduce smoke and impacts from HRB and other forms of open burning.
  • Submissions detailed concerns that smoke from HRBs triggers symptoms in asthmatics and can result in more serious consequences, including increased premature death and hospitalisation. Some submissions referred to a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia and observed that HRBs around Sydney in May 2016 contributed to the 14 deaths and 87 hospitalisations (see https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2016/205/9/rapid-assessment-impact-hazard-reduction-burning-around-sydney-may-2016).
  • A large portion of comments identified a need for: improved collaboration across Government agencies and local communities; increased capacity for accurate air quality monitoring and forecasting; and improved communication with the community.
  • There was particular emphasis on increased communication and consultation in advance of any planned HRB, to provide ample notice so that people have time to adjust their work or lifestyle schedules and can reduce the impacts associated with smoke from HRBs.
  • A need was identified for timely and accurate smoke warnings and education for vulnerable groups. Some groups recommended that the Government broaden consultation to include consumer health organisations who can assist the Government to develop and deliver current, timely and evidence-based advice to the most vulnerable groups in the community.
  • There were numerous calls for hazard reduction burning to be subject to full risk analysis, including assessment of air quality impacts, to determine how much burning, when, and under what conditions is optimal for overall health and safety outcomes.

Reducing smoke from HRBs

  • Multiple submissions expressed support for managing and reducing the smoke impacts from HRBs.
  • There were calls from some submitters for alternative clearing methods to be adopted (e.g. manual and machine clearing), with timely planning and communication to minimise impacts.
  • Some raised concern that reducing exposure to pollution from HRBs needed to be seen in the context of overall Government policy outcomes, recognising that a decrease in HRBs could increase fuel loads and potentially put life and property at greater risk from bushfires.

Monitoring and forecasting

  • Many submissions support Government developing improved monitoring and forecasting techniques to deliver more accurate, useful and timely information to the community.
  • There is support for using weather forecasting to predict impacts and regulate HRBs and other open burning accordingly. It was suggested that the integration of data from portable monitoring pods could be used as the basis for forecasting air quality during bushfires or HR burns. One submission commented that, in the United States, there is a “national cache of smoke monitoring equipment that can be deployed to incidents to understand the magnitude of smoke impacts” and suggested that a similar resource might be useful in Australia.
  • On a related issue, it was suggested that, during the peak periods of agricultural burn-offs (e.g. rice stubble burning), the Bureau of Meteorology might provide daily regional weather forecasts specifically highlighting the conditions for that day in relation to the planned burns, so that burns could be managed accordingly.

Research

  • Increased Government collaboration with the university sector was recommended, to expand research on air quality impacts from HRBs. This would include identifying conditions where undertaking HRBs would be detrimental to health, and developing air quality forecasting tools to support planning of burn times to minimise pollution risks to the community.
  • Some submitters identify a need for more research on the efficacy of current health advice in supporting exposure management, including for example how to respond when indoor air quality is as poor as outdoor air quality.

NEPM Exceptional Events rule

  • There was criticism of the updated National Ambient Air Quality NEPM particle standards for not including poor air quality episodes caused by HRB in the calculation of annual average concentrations. It was recommended that this be reconsidered. 

Agricultural burning

  • There was criticism that the Consultation Paper ignores the contribution made by agriculture to air pollution in NSW, for example through stubble burning. There are calls for Government to commit to monitor and regulate agriculture in the plan to ensure a more complete picture of air pollution sources in NSW.

 

Measuring, monitoring and forecasting air quality

Measuring, monitoring and forecasting air quality

Key Themes

Air quality monitoring

  • Nearly all submissions consider air quality monitoring important, to support understanding of air quality trends and efforts to improve air quality. The community seeks enhanced forecasting and air quality monitoring data, available in real time, with comprehensive summaries and analyses published regularly.
  • The community expects Government will continue to fund an air quality monitoring network and expand monitoring to more sites in Sydney and other regional centres, as population grows and industries expand. Submissions call for additional monitoring in Western Sydney and regional cities such as Lake Macquarie, Wagga Wagga, Orange, Armidale and Dubbo. This is sought both for public information and to expand the EPA’s regulatory focus, geographically and in terms of emission sources (e.g. agricultural sources).
  • There was criticism of the approach to air quality monitoring and reporting against national standards, as not providing adequate coverage and not capturing all local exceedances, so that public health particularly in regional and remote communities is not sufficiently protected (e.g. in areas affected by wood smoke and/or coal mine emissions).
  • Many community submissions called on the Government not to approve new or expanded mining projects where pollution levels exceed national standards. There were calls for Government to implement the Chief Scientist’s recommendations for monitoring studies in/adjacent to the Hunter region’s coal rail corridor.
  • A number of submissions objected to Government relying on industry air monitoring data in determining management action and called for Government to monitor licensed industrial sites.
  • Some submissions called for monitoring for sensitive locations (e.g. hospitals and schools) and at point sources and peak exposure sites (e.g. along major road and rail corridors and at tunnel stacks and cruise ship terminals), on the basis that current monitoring does not adequately capture population exposure at these sites. There were also calls for monitoring of ultrafine particles, where there are vulnerable populations and near motorways.
  • It was suggested Government develop air quality “zones” in its monitoring network, to reflect different types of environment (e.g. city, urban fringe, urban industrial and rural industrial), with tighter controls to apply in certain zones to protect public and environmental health.
  • The use of rolling averages in current air quality monitoring received come criticism as removing the data intelligence necessary to understanding and managing impacts.
  • Some submissions support monitoring using portable monitoring pods and low cost sensors, such as along major roads and at specific sites (e.g. Port Botany or WestConnex), or during a bushfire or hazard reduction burn. Some suggested support of low-cost air sensors would provide opportunities for local manufacturers.
  • Some submissions recommend developing and rolling out a more comprehensive mobile phone app to enable the general public to better understand and track air quality in their local area.

Clean Air Metric

  • Multiple submitters objected to a population weighted measure for the proposed Clean Air Metric, especially in combination with the proposed goal of improving “average” air quality results in NSW. It was argued that this will not adequately capture or manage pollution “hot spots” across the state and could allow Government and others to disregard pollution in smaller, regional and remote communities.
  • Some proposed that Government involve additional researchers and independent health experts in developing the Clean Air Metric. There were calls to explain in the final Clean Air plan how current data gaps will be managed and any potential bias against regional areas addressed.
  • Some responders advised against use of a single metric for multiple pollutants and suggested that separate population weighted indicators be considered for individual pollutants.
  • It was argued the Government needs to adopt measures to track health outcomes associated with short term pollutant events, as well as long term trends that will likely be picked up by the Clean Air Metric’s proposed 3-year rolling average.

Indoor air quality

  • There was some expectation that Clean Air for NSW (CAfNSW) should consider indoor air quality. It was commented that Government should require industry best practice in order to protect indoor air quality in workplaces.

 

Transport and planning impacts on air quality

Transport and planning impacts on air quality

Key Themes

Planning decisions 

  • Many submissions identify a lack of recognition or consideration of air pollution and air quality issues in state and local government planning processes and decision making. There is a call for greater collaboration across agencies to provide the necessary legislative and regulatory planning framework.
  • There is an expectation that Clean Air for NSW explain how Government air quality goals and actions will be reflected in planning instruments, including Local Environment Plans and Development Control Plans.
  • Some submitters called for greater consideration to be given in planning decisions to health impacts associated with air pollution, particularly in the case of co-locating polluting activities with sensitive activities such as homes, schools or childcare centres.
  • There were also calls from industry to ensure buffer zones are maintained around existing critical infrastructure and activities.
  • Some submissions called on the EPA to take a more active role in helping community members take up pollution issues (often related to development applications or planning consent) with the relevant agency.
  • Many submissions commented on the need for cumulative air quality impacts to be considered when determining development applications.
  • There were calls for greater consideration to be given to sustainable land use planning to reduce car dependency, including requirements for developments to have public transport, footpaths and cycle-ways in place before occupancy.
  • Some called for the introduction of congestion charge zones in Sydney and other centres. There were also calls to make parts of the CBD car free (similar to policies used in London) or to create zones to exclude cars or freight vehicles during peak periods.

Motor vehicles and transport alternatives

  • Many submitters expect Clean Air for NSW to include clear, measurable targets for curbing vehicle use, reducing vehicle emissions and increasing public and active transport options.
  • There is support for implementing tighter vehicle emission and fuel standards and for Government to adopt more stringent standards for purchasing and contracting of vehicles.
  • Submissions included calls to provide incentives for low emission vehicles, such as differential stamp duty or taxes or registration fees based on the level of emissions produced by vehicles. Some called for vehicle fuels to be subject to a carbon emissions price.
  • There was support specifically for more stringent standards for on-road heavy vehicles and calls for removal of old trucks from the fleet. Calls were made to replace Government buses and other heavy vehicles with electric vehicles. The rail industry and some community members advocated Government policies supporting mode shift from road to rail freight.
  • There were proposals that all diesel vehicles be phased out, with reference to actions taken overseas in response to high NOx emissions from diesel vehicles.
  • A number of submissions suggested that Government agencies should purchase petrol hybrid vehicles, support vehicle emission standards for all NSW Government contracts or spend the equivalent budget on incentives for very old vehicles to be upgraded to newer vehicles.
  • Many submissions called for greater Government leadership in the promotion, adoption and integration of electric vehicles (EVs) in NSW, by including EVs in Government vehicle fleets and providing incentives for people or businesses to purchase electric vehicles, e.g. lower registration fees for electric vehicles.
  • Other proposals were targeted to public transport, including the roll out of zero-emission buses and cars and a commuter express train linking regional cities to Sydney.
  • There were calls for the NSW electric vehicle strategy to include policies/actions to increase the proportion of renewable energy used. It was argued that if electric vehicles are charged with electricity from coal-fired power stations, it will only move emissions from urban to power station areas and may increase emissions overall.
  • Many in favour of electric vehicle adoption emphasise the importance for Government of making sure public infrastructure, particularly charging stations, are in place and easily accessible, including for drivers outside the city and in regional areas.  There were calls for investigation into barriers to installing electric vehicle infrastructure in urban precincts, and the kinds of policies that could encourage businesses to establish recharge stations.
  • Some industry submitters urge the Government to consider the uptake of natural gas vehicles as well as electric vehicles. Stated benefits include reduced emissions, increased safety and lower fuel costs.
  • Calls were also made for research on other low emission technologies for vehicles (e.g. hydrogen fuel cell).
  • The issues of toxic waste from lithium batteries at the end of life of electric vehicles was raised.
  • Submitters called on Government to prioritise cycling and public transport infrastructure (e.g. separate bike lanes, walking tracks), including in regional areas, to reduce vehicle emissions and congestion and to improve public health and wellbeing.
  • There is a view, particularly amongst metropolitan residents, that more people would take up cycling in Sydney if safe, accessible infrastructure was made available.
  • Some called for a minimum 5% of the roads budget to be allocated to cycling.

Major infrastructure

  • The view was widely expressed that WestConnex will promote an increase in the number of vehicle trips and kilometres travelled, and that drivers will “rat-run” through local roads to avoid tolls.
  • Submitters believe issues of motorway pollution and stack emissions are not being adequately addressed and that tunnel stacks should be filtered. There were calls for monitoring of ultrafine particles in sensitive locations such as schools and hospitals near major motorways – to provide individuals with information on their exposure, and inform appropriate Government responses.
  • Submissions expressed concern about the expected significant increase in motor vehicle and heavy vehicle movements during construction and operation of the Second Sydney Airport, and the associated impact on air quality in Western Sydney.
  • There are calls for further research to be undertaken on the long term health effects for residents living near motorway ventilation stacks and high traffic density areas.

Non-road diesel equipment, locomotives and shipping

  • Many submitters supported phased introduction of European Union standards for non-road diesel equipment and engines sold in Australia. Industry submitters however indicated that regulatory intervention in this area is onerous.
  • Some submitters supported measures to reduce diesel emissions from locomotives. However, the rail industry stated that locomotives are a low source of emissions and therefore regulatory action would be disproportionate to environmental gains.
  • Numerous submitters called for shore-to-ship power to reduce diesel emissions from berthed cruise ships. There was also support for extending the use of low sulfur fuel to all shipping, which it was stated would also improve the availability of low sulfur fuel.
  • Industry groups stated that fuel sulfur levels are consistent with MARPOL requirements, sulfur levels are to decrease from 2020 under MARPOL, and that national/international level regulation of shipping is the most appropriate mechanism. Industry groups also noted that cruise ships in Sydney Harbour are now required to comply with Australian Marine Safety Authority low sulfur fuel orders while at berth.

Vapour recovery

  • Local government and other community stakeholders support the extension of vapour recovery requirements to regional urban centres, though some note that additional resources would be required to assist and support council staff.
  • Other submitters, including some industry groups, consider it would not be cost effective, or should be supported by economic analysis, and would not have the desired impact on ‘average exposure’ to air pollution.
  • There was criticism that the contribution of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) to emissions is omitted from the Clean Air for NSW Consultation Paper.

Wood heater emissions

Wood heater emissions

Key Themes

Key community views

  • Many submitters expressed concern about wood smoke pollution, referring to its significant contribution to particle levels in both urban and regional areas during winter and citing asthma and the other health effects associated with wood smoke.
  • Many stated that current national wood heater emission standards are inadequate and that lower limits are required. There were calls for tighter regulation on installation and sale of wood heaters or banning them in populated areas.
  • There were comments from neighbours adversely affected by wood smoke. Some called for Government to consult affected neighbours on wood heater policy and programs. There was also some support for Government financial support to neighbours adversely affected by wood smoke.
  • It was noted that social research in Upper Hunter has shown that wood heater users see mining, power stations, diesel trucks and trains as the real sources of air pollution in the area, making it difficult to change their attitudes to their own wood heater use. Some submissions observed that an obstacle to changing behaviours is that wood is often freely available in regional areas, while electricity is expensive for many people.
  • Several submissions sought greater focus on wood smoke in regional towns such as Armidale. Proposals included:
  • specific attention in Clean Air for NSW on wood smoke in Armidale, given its significance for the region
  • a pilot project to identify and map wood fire exclusion zones based on inversion layer boundaries
  • a community crowd sourced monitoring campaign to support use of low-cost sensors to estimate population exposure to wood smoke in Armidale.

Peak industry body position

  • The peak wood heater industry body regards adoption of updated wood heater standards into Regulation as sufficient and opposes local councils having powers to set their own additional controls. The industry body disputes the air quality data published in the Consultation Paper, in particular the level of PM2.5 emissions attributed to wood heaters.
  • The industry body supports extending periodic compliance audits beyond retail stores and seeks action to prevent on-line sale of heaters that do not comply with the standards.

Other industry comments

  • Some industry submitters argue the regulatory focus on EPA-licensed industry is disproportionate, given the contribution of domestic wood smoke to air pollution in NSW and the potential health benefits available from increased action on wood smoke.

Local councils

  • There is support for additional funding and staff resources for local councils to manage wood smoke.
  • A number of submissions from community members commented on local councils being unwilling to act on local air pollution issues (e.g. smoke from wood heaters and backyard pizza ovens), due to not recognising the impacts, not knowing what action to take or lack of resources. Submissions called on Government to provide training and clearer guidance to local council officers for responding to local air quality issues.
  • Support was expressed for additional council powers, including to allow councils to prohibit wood heaters, make wood heater installation subject to council approval and consultation with neighbours, and impose levies on wood heaters.
  • Conversely, there is criticism of councils’ wood smoke responsibility, from the wood heating industry and others who see councils as not interested or effective in managing wood smoke and expect the EPA to act.

Regulation

  • Submissions criticise the Consultation Paper as not bringing forward significant measures to control wood smoke. Some see Government as not meeting its duty of care and inconsistent in relation to the health impacts of different activities e.g. comparing Government action on cigarette smoke and wood smoke.
  • Some submissions support mandatory controls and criticise voluntary buy-back and behavioural programs as having limited effect.
  • Many called for regulation to prevent installation of wood heaters and progressively phase them out in urban areas, with lead time for home-owners to adapt. It was argued a focus solely on new heaters would produce results too slowly and existing heaters must be addressed. Suggestions included emissions compliance testing, mandatory wood heater servicing, mandating catalytic converters on chimneys and bans on using wood heaters on high pollution days.
  • Some submissions called for wood heater controls to be implemented at national rather than a state or local level.

Education programs

  • While some see them as ineffective, there was also strong support for publicly funded education campaigns. A need is seen for education campaigns warning of the health risks of wood smoke personal impacts. Many expect Government to act to start changing the culture of wood burning, and educating people in preparation for banning this activity.
  • There were statements that awareness programs have been more effective (e.g. in Launceston), where the focus has been on explaining health impacts and replacing wood stoves, rather than targeting more effective wood heater operation.
  • Some specific suggestions included using real estate agents to reach tenants in leased properties with wood smoke messages and educating the community on the relationship between building insulation measures and heating demand.

Rebates, incentives and other financial measures

  • Support was expressed for incentive, buy back, and/or rebate programs, to encourage switching to electricity, heat pumps or gas heating. There were also calls for incentives for home insulation to reduce demand for home heating. Others called for replacement of old wood heaters with heaters compliant with new emission limits.
  • A licensing system and wood heater tax or levy was proposed, to help meet costs of wood smoke reduction programs.
Page last updated: 17 July 2017