Tough penalties for wood heater smoke in Armidale (26 June 2001)

Armidale Dumaresq Council will fine householders who breach tough new smoke pollution laws. The city will be the first in Australia to introduce new laws to reduce the output of smoke emissions from wood fire heaters.
From July 1, householders operating the solid fuel heaters in what the council deems to be an "environmentally unsatisfactory manner" will face a $320 penalty.
Failure to address the smoke emission problem will result in a second fine of $750, with tougher penalties for ongoing infringements.
Mayor Brian Chetwynd says it is the latest step in a five-year campaign to address Armidale's annual wood smoke problem.
The purpose of the crackdown is to reduce dangerous smoke emissions that are putting th ehealth of Amridale's population during winter at risk.

According to Armidale Dumaresq Council's senior health surveyor, Norm Butt, "the council would act on complaints received from the public, using visual monitoring of chimneys. If there is visual pollution, it means the device is not owrking in an environmentally satisfactory manner. A wood heater should not be emitting smoke for more than five minutes after it has been started".

A booklet, "Guidelines for the Operation of Woodheaters", compiled by the Environment Protection Authority and council is available form the council's Customer Services.