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Published: 2011-11-14 00:00:00

A Waikato Regional Council scheme to improve air quality in Taupo, Tokoroa and Te Kuiti will see qualifying homeowners enjoying the benefits of clean heat next winter.

The council is spending $212,000 in 2011/12 in these towns to provide free clean heat appliances to eligible low-income homeowners who currently rely on more polluting forms of heating.

Over winter the air in Taupo, Tokoroa and Te Kuiti can carry excessive amounts of harmful fine particles, known as PM10. This comes mainly from wood burnt for home heating in older, inefficient woodburners and open fires. PM10 is small enough to get into people’s lungs and cause serious health problems.

The council has contracted Energy Options to run the scheme, known as the Waikato Clean Heat Retrofit Programme. To be considered, homeowners need to have a community services card and an adequately insulated house.

Waikato Regional Council policy advisor Amanda Banks said: “We are focusing on the towns with the worst air quality, and helping people who might not be able to afford to change heating systems.

“Clean heat appliances are better for the air and more efficient, keeping people warmer and saving money on heating.

 “Eligible homeowners will be able to choose the type of clean heat appliance they get, including complying woodburners that put little or no PM10 into the air.” 

Energy Options operations manager Dean Finlay said: “We encourage people to contact us to find out more. At the moment we’re particularly keen to hear from people in the Taupo airshed."

The Taupo airshed is bounded by Lake Terrace, Kaimanawa Street, Spa Road, Tauhara Road, Elizabeth Street and Taharepa Road. Enquiries on the Waikato Clean Heat Retrofit Programme can be directed to Energy Options on 0800 15 15 65.