quit wood smoke CAMPAIGN
What actions should government take to address wood smoke?
This page outlines the key steps we think are needed to clear our air and stop residential wood smoke pollution. If you are communicating with your government representatives please use the action list below to call for a phase out of wood heating in residential areas.
We encourage you to make the most of upcoming government elections (whether local, state/territory or federal) to raise this issue with your candidates. If you are emailing or communicating with your local representative - ask them if they will commit to supporting a phase out of wood burning in residential areas - see list below. To help you draft an email/letter go to our Templates and letters page.
The next state election is in Victoria and scheduled for 26 November 2022. The NSW election will be held in March 2023.
If you live in Victoria (or have family or friends in Victoria) please visit our Victorian State Election Campaign page - in which we will be asking all Victorian state candidates for their commitment to work towards phasing out wood heaters. Please subscribe so you receive notice when the campaign commences later in September. We will also be posting on twitter and facebook.
What do we want? A Phase out of wood burning in residential areas - which should include:
Legislation: Prohibit new wood heaters being installed and remove existing wood heaters/fireplaces upon the sale of a house. This costs the taxpayer nothing but protects public health now and in the future.
A replacement scheme: Current subsidy schemes should be extended (or introduced if they don't already exist) to encourage households to switch to healthier heating options (i.e. cost efficient electric heat pumps), with a focus on ensuring households with wood heaters can access the program as a first priority.
Public education: Increase community support for initiatives to reduce wood smoke via funding a wider education campaign on air pollution and the health impacts of wood smoke (as suggested by Asthma Australia – Airsmart)
Regional/rural program: A focused program to address the cultural barriers of wood burning in regional/rural areas, including education on the health and environmental harms of wood smoke, heating alternatives and available subsidies.
Advocacy to federal government: Call on government to implement the recommendations of the Centre for Air Pollution, Energy and Health research in its policy paper on wood smoke pollution in Australia.
Why a phase out?
A phasing out process is important in order to ensure people have time and are supported to change over their heating. It is also to allow time for people to understand the need for a phase out including the extensive evidence to show that wood smoke impacts health even at low levels. Studies show that it is not only neighbours being impacted but households with wood heaters are being exposed to high levels of particle pollution every time they open the stove-door to put in more wood.
In the same way that smoking in public places has been banned over time, and incinerators in backyards were banned, most people will understand the need to protect our air. More efficient, affordable and environmentally friendly heating is available across Australia to anyone who has access to electricity via a reverse cycle/electric heat pump.
The government's current policy to reduce wood smoke pollution has involved 'burn better' education to people with wood heaters. This has not proved to be effective in reducing wood smoke given that over the past 20 years the levels of wood smoke pollution in many towns and cities around Australia has not reduced. While wood heaters are used by a small minority (5% in some urban areas) they cause the largest single source of PM2.5 air pollution, impacting the health of the other 95%.
For more information on actions you can take please visit our How can we stop wood smoke pollution page. You may wish to read about the health and climate impacts or go to our Frequently Asked Questions page. Please also subscribe, check in with our website for latest news and please follow us on facebook and twitter.