Singleton Council and Muswellbrook Shire Council have received joint funding of $84,000 from the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to undertake a 2017 wood smoke reduction campaign commencing this month.
The announcement comes after the councils conducted a successful joint program last year.
The funding will enable both councils to provide further education to the community about the health impacts of wood smoke and correct operation of wood heaters, and to encourage the replacement of older wood heaters not compliant with today’s standards.
The EPA recognises that wood smoke is a major contributor to poor air quality in the region during the winter months.
Muswellbrook Shire Council Sustainability Coordinator Mark Scandrett said:
“The EPA recognises that wood smoke is a major contributor to poor air quality in the region during the winter months.
“Fine particulates in wood smoke are a concern because they pass through the throat and nose and into the lungs where they can cause respiratory and circulatory problems, especially for the young and elderly, or people with existing medical conditions such as asthma.”
To improve air quality in the upcoming winter months, Singleton and Muswellbrook councils have rebate programs in place for both flue cleaning and wood heater replacement.
Singleton Council Director Planning & Infrastructure Mark Ihlein said:
“Now is the time to take action to reduce the amount of smoke generated by your wood heater.
“For a limited time, Singleton and Muswellbrook councils are offering a $50 rebate when you get your flue cleaned professionally, as a clean flue allows your wood heater to burn more efficiently, producing more heat with less smoke.
“Both councils are also offering a $1500 rebate to replace your wood heater with a less smoky form of heating, such as air conditioning.”