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Greens call for heater police

By johnboy - 26 May 2011 21

The Greens’ Amanda Bresnan has proposed her plans to deal with the scourge of woodsmoke over Canberra (RiotACT notes that recent smokey days were caused by fuel reduction in surrounding bushland).

Some of the suggestions are moderately sensible if you believe wood fires are a problem, as opposed to a cheap renewable heating solution. But check out the last one!

1. Expanded options for replacements: The buyback program should extend beyond gas replacements and allow people to replace woodsmoke heaters with other highly efficient heating options (solar heating for example). Not everyone even has gas available to them.

2. A new emissions standard for new heaters: The ACT Government should introduce a new emissions standard for woodsmoke heaters in the ACT, acknowledging that the Federal Government has failed to act on this issue.

3. Proper air quality monitoring: Mobile air quality readings should be taken. Taking a general reading from one location does not reflect what is really happening with woodsmoke pollution in Canberra.

4. Targeted education programs: Many people use their woodsmoke heaters incorrectly, and you can see all the smoke that comes from their chimney as a result. The Government could engage an officer to identify those houses and directly educate them about how to correctly burn the wood, or how to replace their wood heater. The officer could issue infringement notices to repeat offenders. This was done in Launceston and was highly successful.

Personally I wouldn’t want to be relying on a solar heating system.

What’s Your opinion?


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21 Responses to
Greens call for heater police
wildturkeycanoe 6:27 am 27 May 11

Nightshade said :

Those of you who are incredulous every time this topic comes up must never have lived next door to someone who lets their heater smoke excessively. There may not be many people who do this, but being the unlucky neighbour is no fun and it’s not just a Tuggeranong problem.

Try:
– having a cloud of smoke wafting through your yard all weekend for 5 months of the year
– never being able to hang your washing outside unless you want it smelling worse than before you washed it (and having your living room permanently filled with wet clothes on airers as a result)
– having smoke blow inside your house through the ventilation holes (I’ve been able to tell when my neighbour refuelled their heater while standing in my kitchen at the far end of the house because smoke came down the range hood flue)
– not being able to spend time outside enjoying your garden for that 5 months a year
– not being able to do any gardening either (and then having to deal later with the jungle of weeds that grew, set seed and grew again in early Spring while you weren’t able to go outside and deal with them promptly)

I’m always surprised to see the sympathy most of you extend to people whose neighbours have front yards full of rusty cars or long grass, who make excessive noise, who build sun rooms that overlook their backyard or various other unneighbourly things … yet it seems so difficult to understand what a problem smoke can cause.

Poor baby –
For the 5 months of summer we had dust blowing through our backyard due to the suburb being a construction zone for new housing.
Laundry won’t dry for half of the winter months anyway, as it’s either raining or just too darn cold – get a clothes dryer.
If the smoke is coming into your house through vents and the rangehood, the green police should be knocking on your door as all that cold air would be giving your home a -3 star energy efficiency. Waste of natural resources.
If you can’t go into the backyard because of the smoke, how do you get to the shops? I dare say that the wind doesn’t ALWAYS blow into your yard and there are opportunities to get these things done. Wood fires have been around since man discovered flint, there will never be a better way to get warm. If the government made it easier and cheaper to get better burning firewood, instead of the semi-damp garbage people have to scrape for wherever they can find it, smoke will be a lesser issue. The problem is being made worse by the green’s campaigns, not better.

Nightshade 10:35 pm 26 May 11

Those of you who are incredulous every time this topic comes up must never have lived next door to someone who lets their heater smoke excessively. There may not be many people who do this, but being the unlucky neighbour is no fun and it’s not just a Tuggeranong problem.

Try:
– having a cloud of smoke wafting through your yard all weekend for 5 months of the year
– never being able to hang your washing outside unless you want it smelling worse than before you washed it (and having your living room permanently filled with wet clothes on airers as a result)
– having smoke blow inside your house through the ventilation holes (I’ve been able to tell when my neighbour refuelled their heater while standing in my kitchen at the far end of the house because smoke came down the range hood flue)
– not being able to spend time outside enjoying your garden for that 5 months a year
– not being able to do any gardening either (and then having to deal later with the jungle of weeds that grew, set seed and grew again in early Spring while you weren’t able to go outside and deal with them promptly)

I’m always surprised to see the sympathy most of you extend to people whose neighbours have front yards full of rusty cars or long grass, who make excessive noise, who build sun rooms that overlook their backyard or various other unneighbourly things … yet it seems so difficult to understand what a problem smoke can cause.

zippyzippy 6:17 pm 26 May 11

Chop71 said :

infringement notices – for keeping my family warm on a -7 winter morning.

What are you talking about? Why would you get an infringement notice?

Keijidosha 5:00 pm 26 May 11

Erg0 said :

I like that she’s gone to the trouble of inventing the pejorative term “woodsmoke heater”, just to really drive home the point that they’re bad and stuff.

I suspect she was exercising restraint from going with “tree burning, toxic carbon polluting, baby killing warmth generator”

damien haas 4:49 pm 26 May 11

Erg0 said :

I like that she’s gone to the trouble of inventing the pejorative term “woodsmoke heater”, just to really drive home the point that they’re bad and stuff.

Possibly a find/replace error for some other word that wood may have began as and then changed later by an editor.

damien haas 4:47 pm 26 May 11

I think the woodsmoke problems are largely confined to the Tuggeranong Valley, and would be dismayed if a whole of Canberra solution was applied to remediate a local problem.

housebound 4:25 pm 26 May 11

Greens pushing and calling …

Maybe the Greens should just ban Winter, then we won’t need to light our wood heaters. (Nice try Amanda – but our heater does NOT run on woodsmoke.)

Reminds me of that joke: Definition of a Greenie is someone who already has a bushblock.

ScienceRules 4:20 pm 26 May 11

Holy crap, does ANYONE use wood heaters anymore? As an (Upper) Tuggeranong denizen I can’t recall any time recently when this was an issue. Maybe Bresnan is just blowing smoke?

Jivrashia 4:02 pm 26 May 11

I believe the crux of the problem is this:
As Winter arrives and woodsmoke pollution accumulates in the Tuggeranong Valley

…Would you people please stop sniggering?

chewy14 3:53 pm 26 May 11

Solar air heating backed up by gas can be viable for home heating. Using PCM’s can help store heat when the sun isn’t out.
Pretty much the same as a solar hot water heater heating air instead.

No.4 definitely sounds like Green policy. Re-Education programs for everyone.
I’m thinking rooms full of people hooked up Clockwork Orange style until they learn the “correct” way of thinking.

Erg0 3:52 pm 26 May 11

I like that she’s gone to the trouble of inventing the pejorative term “woodsmoke heater”, just to really drive home the point that they’re bad and stuff.

Chop71 3:44 pm 26 May 11

….. this could almost get me to move to Hall, Murrumbateman or even Quangers where amazingly smoke isn’t a problem 😉

Chop71 3:35 pm 26 May 11

infringement notices – for keeping my family warm on a -7 winter morning.
Talk about a nanny state

Solidarity 3:29 pm 26 May 11

Can someone please explain to me how a “solar heater” is better for the environment than a fireplace?

I’m guessing manufacturing one of these things has a bit more impact than firing up a kiln and cutting down some deadwood.

RedDogInCan 3:21 pm 26 May 11

Actually, Canberra already has smoke police. You can ring them up to complain about your neighbour and they will go around to re-educate them. If that fails to correct their smokey habits, you can complain again and the smoke police will offer to prosecute the offending neighbour but only if you are prepared to lodge a formal complaint against them, the details of which the offending neighbour is advised of. Needless to say, not many formal complaints get lodged.

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