Council's campaign fires up in fight against heating pollution

HOT TOPIC: Councillor Neil Jones shows off the range of environmentally friendlier heater optons available as part of the 'Stay Warm, Breathe Easy' campaign yesterday. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0520woodheat3

HOT TOPIC: Councillor Neil Jones shows off the range of environmentally friendlier heater optons available as part of the 'Stay Warm, Breathe Easy' campaign yesterday. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0520woodheat3

ORANGE City Council’s ‘Stay Warm, Breathe Easy’ campaign is heating up.

The City Council launched the NSW government-funded program on Tuesday, designed at reducing air pollution from wood smoke by encouraging home owners to replace outdated wood and solid fuel heaters.

Orange City Council’s Environmental and Economic Development Policy Committee chair Neil Jones explained the program allows residents to qualify for subsidies of up to $500, or $1000 for pensioners, to replace their old solid fuel heater with another kind, preferably electric or gas.

“This scheme is offering cash incentives for people to replace their wood heater by taking $500 off the price of installing another form of heating,” Cr Jones said.

“There are some conditions to be met to qualify for the funding, but this financial support could make all the difference to a householder making the change.”

Councillor Jones said the ‘Stay Warm, Breathe Easy” campaign will make a drastic difference to the amount of winter pollution produced in Orange.

“One of the biggest sources of pollution is when a resident fills up their fire-box with wood last thing at night, and then closes it up to smoulder all night,” he explained.

“It might make it easier to start a fire in the morning, but it fills the air in your neighbourhood with potentially dangerous smoke. There’s a big difference in the pollution that can come from old fashioned wood burners compared to the modern heaters.

“If you need a new heater, consider the alternatives.”

Wood smoke is unhealthy, councillor Jones said, and just how much it will impact you depends on how often a person is exposed. Those most at risk are infants, the frail and elderly people or those with existing heart, lung or vascular conditions.

To qualify for the cash incentive residents must pass council inspection, purchase and install an eligible replacement heating system and properly dispose of their old wood heater for recycling by August 31. 

Pensioners and low-income earners qualify for the increased subsidisation.

Applications are available at www.orange.nsw.gov.au/woodsmoke, council staff can also provide more information.

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