Rule Changes

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Rule Changes

Legislation from the Ministry for the Environment means that Blenheim needs to clean up its air. How we go about it is up to us.

See the Ministry for the Environment website to see the legislation.

Go to Ministry for the Environment

What do we want? Clean air, warm homes.

How do we achieve this?

Open fireplace.

Ban open fires


There are just over 450 open fires in Blenheim. Of these, approximately half possess a woodburner.

An open fire is the least efficient method of solid fuel heating, typically being 15% efficient compared with 60% efficiency for enclosed burners. Open fires also emit more particulate matter than other methods of solid fuel heating.

Backyard burning in drum.

Ban urban backyard burning


It is estimated that urban backyard burning contributes 6% of the total PM10 emissions in the Blenheim airshed. Urban backyard burning also creates a significant nuisance effect, with approximately 20% of all complaints in Blenheim being made in relation to urban backyard burning.

There are alternatives to burning waste outdoors, including taking suitable waste to the composting facility on Wither Road and/or disposing of it at a landfill.

Go to the airshed page

Multi-fuel woodburner.

Don’t allow multi-fuel burners in new houses


All new woodburners are required to meet national environmental standards (NES) set out by the Ministry for the Environment's air quality regulations; these ensure that new woodburners will heat more effectively and produce fewer emissions. However, there are no such standards in place for multi-fuel burners.

The majority of multi-fuel burners in Blenheim burn only wood. Not allowing the installation of multi-fuel burners in new houses still allows people the option of having a woodburner and the option to burn wood, but it will result in less overall emissions to the airshed.

For more information on the National Environmental Standards (NES), see the Ministry for the Environment website.

Go to Ministry for the Environment

Old burners are replaced after 15 or 20 years


The New Zealand Home Heating Association has said that woodburners typically have a 15 to 20 year lifespan. A rule stating that old burners will need to be replaced with NES compliant burners after 15 to 20 years will ensure that, in time, all old inefficient burners will be phased out. It is considered that the cost to households will be minimal, as burners are likely to need replacing at this stage anyway.