Vic Inquiry lays the ground work to phase out wood heaters in built up areas
One of the key messages that emerges from the report released today by the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Health Impacts of Air Pollution is that wood smoke from wood heaters is a significant health hazard and that actions are required to progressively reduce their numbers in residential areas. The five recommendations include: a public education campaign on the adverse health impacts of wood smoke (rec 19), a targeted rebate scheme to assist people to transition away from wood burning (rec 20), removal of wood heaters on point of sale of a home (rec 21) and the establishment of a taskforce to evaluate the impacts of measures to reduce wood smoke (22). Rec 18 recommends supporting Councils to enforce wood smoke abatement - which from long experience we know is largely ineffective in reducing wood smoke. While the report fails to commit to an overall phase out - it lays the ground work towards that goal. Ensuring an effective and wide-spread education campaign on the harms of wood smoke pollution will be critical to the success of other measures. The report makes 35 recommendations overall including to address emissions from coal burning, road traffic and measures to protect the community from air pollution events. The government now has six months to respond to the report - we hope that government listens and acts on the evidence and the concerns of the community to improve air quality for all Victorians.