Richmond’s airshed was created in 2006 and is the only airshed in our district.
The National Environmental Standards and the Council’s management of air quality aims to reduce pollution in the airshed over time.
Since September 2016 the standard was set at no more than three high pollution nights a year in the airshed. From 2020 no more than one a year is allowed.
A significant amount of the pollution in the Richmond Airshed is caused by smoke from domestic solid fuel burners, mostly wood burners. The calm, clear and cold winter days don’t allow smoke to rise and disperse. Instead, the smoke sits low to the ground and the air pollution can cause significant negative health and nuisance effects.
We have specific Richmond airshed rules in the Tasman Resource Management Plan (TRMP) to help achieve the requirements of the National Environment Standards for Air Quality. All homes in Richmond are subject to rules which restrict the use of wood burners, as these contribute the most particulate matter (as smoke) in the area.
By enforcing the rules alongside education on how to operate wood burners efficiently, it means that we should all be able to enjoy cleaner air, and Richmond will be a healthier place to live.
Council’s management of air quality in the Richmond airshed focuses on:
Throughout winter, Compliance Officers will enforce the rules relating to wood burner use to ensure that wood burner users enjoy the warmth of their fire without the smoke.
Wood burners need to be well operated to minimise smoke or smell nuisance to neighbours and in a way that reduces air pollution. Only use dry firewood that will burn well, helping keep your home warmer and our air cleaner. Do not burn rubbish, plastics, glossy paper, treated or painted wood as these release harmful toxic chemicals.
To help get cleaner air for everyone in Richmond, every property within the Richmond airshed that changes ownership must be heated by either a clean air heat source (heat pumps, gas fire, etc), or a clean air compliant wood burner which burns efficiently to ensure that only a small amount of smoke is produced.
If you have purchased a property in the Richmond airshed since 2007, you cannot discharge smoke, soot or odour from your wood burner unless it complies with the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality and the Tasman Resource Management Plan. Only wood burners which have been certified to meet strict criteria are allowed to be used in Richmond after the date of the transfer of ownership.
You will also require Building Consent for the installation of the wood burner.
The two main requirements for wood burners are:
An appliance which:
New houses within the airshed can only install pellet fires, or use alternative clean air heat sources such as heat pumps. The two main requirements for pellet fires are:
An appliance which:
Authorised wood burners (including pellet fires) for installation in the Richmond airshed are listed on the Ministry of Environment’s Authorised wood burner list.