Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is thanking the community for doing the right thing, following a season of fewer burning complaints and infringements than previous years.
Group Manager Policy & Regulation, Katrina Brunton says burning complaints have nearly halved and a third less infringements were issued in comparison to 2019.
“Thank you to our growers, farmers, lifestylers, and city dwellers for following the rules and keeping our community healthy. We still have a way to go but this year’s figures show we are on the right track.”
There were 143 complaints in 2019, which fell to 118 in 2020, and then dropping dramatically to 78 in 2021. Sixty-six infringements were issued at in 2019 – that figure dropped to 45 in 2020, and then again to 31 in 2021.
However, Mrs Brunton says it’s disappointing that a number of infringements were still issued for the burning of prohibited items.
“We will continue to enforce the burning rules next season. Burning items like metal, treated timber, plastic, and household furniture endanger the health of the people in our communities,” she says.
Regional Council Principal Scientist Air, Dr Kathleen Kozyniak says on the whole it’s been a good winter for air quality, particularly in Hastings.
“Napier had just one exceedance and Hastings didn’t exceed the National Environmental Standard for PM10 for the first time since continuous monitoring began in the city about 15 years ago,” says Dr Kozyniak.
“This year continues a trend for Hastings of concentrations progressively decreasing. It’s been very heartening to see better air quality for residents as payback for the efforts people have made to reduce their emissions of particulates.”
She says the weather possibly helped Hastings more than Napier.
“Average temperatures during winter in Hastings were a little warmer and windier than usual, with a decrease in downslope, southwest winds that come from the ranges under frosty conditions, and an increase in easterlies.
“The increase in easterlies is likely to have contributed more natural sources, like sea salt, to both Awatoto and Napier’s concentrations so might explain why we didn’t see any real reductions in those places compared to Hastings,” says Dr Kozyniak.
Outdoor burning is banned for properties in the Napier and Hastings airsheds from 1 May until 31 August. For people outside the Napier and Hastings airsheds, outdoor fires are allowed if they only burn untreated wood, paper, cardboard, or vegetation, and the fire isn’t a nuisance to neighbours.
Outdoor fires are not allowed when there’s a restricted fire season or fire ban in place. Fire restrictions and permits are managed by Fire and Emergency New Zealand. However, anyone who has a permit must still follow the Regional Council’s rules.