Please tell Environment Ministers about meaningless woodheater 'standards' before 15 Jul meeting

Draft email - please edit as appropriate and send to the Federal Environment & Health Ministers, and to your state Environment & Health Ministers.
Email addresses below.

Dear Minister,

Please support stricter air pollution standards and save $18 billion in health costs by implementing 3 measures to solve wood heater pollution at the 15 July meeting, improving our health and saving many lives per year.

The vast majority of respondents to the government consultation wanted an annual PM2.5 limit of 6 ug/m3.  This standard is achievable, if the 3 wood heater pollution measures are implemented, and would save the lives of about 700 Australians every year.  

Please, as our elected representative, make public health your priority.  Please support the annual PM2.5 standard of 6 ug/m3 and allow it to protect large and small communities by requiring PM2.5 to be measured in all communities with more than 5,000 inhabitants if there is evidence (e.g. from optical particle counters) that the standard is likely to be exceeded.

A 6 ug/m3 PM2.5 standard can be achieved if we fix the wood heater pollution problem.  Emissions limits for other sources of pollution (e.g. cars) are set by the government.  The same should apply to domestic wood heaters. The Committee that set current 'standards' had no health experts and was powerless to make any real improvements because the wood-heating industry is allowed to veto any proposed changes.  

As might be expected from such a flawed process, the current wood heater test doesn't measure real-life emissions  The average new wood heater (that meets the current flawed 'standard') emits more PM2.5 per year than 1,000 petrol cars and has estimated health costs of thousands of dollars per year.  This meaningless 'standard' should be withdrawn immediately and a task force set up to develop a replacement test that measures real-life emissions and to set an appropriate emissions limit that will safeguard public health.

Despite being used in Sydney as the main form of heating by less than 5% of households, the NSW EPA estimates that domestic wood heaters are responsible for more than half of all Sydney's PM2.5 emissions over the entire year. A consultancy report for the NSW EPA estimated that woodsmoke is an $8.1 health problems in NSW, but that 3 simple measures

1) not allowing new wood heaters to be installed (until a new health-based wood-heater standard has been developed)
2) phasing out wood heaters when houses are sold 
3) licencing fees to fund education programs, assist residents whose health or lifestyle is affected by other people's woodsmoke and provide funds to replace wood stoves with non-polluting alternatives 

could not only reduce the $8 billion health costs in NSW ($20-$24 billion for the whole of Australia) by at least 75% but also allow the 6 ug/m3 PM2.5 standard (that would save about 700 lives per year) to be achieved. 

Please therefore support a 6 ug/m3 PM2.5 standard and the 3 measures listed above that will together reduce health costs in Australia by almost $20 billion and save 700 lives per year.

To verify the above facts, please see

Thanks you for your efforts which will ensure a cleaner, healthier future for all Australians.

Federal ministers
Environment  (02) 6277 7920
NSW Ministers
Environment:   Mark Speakman (02) 8574 6390
Vic Ministers
Environment: 03 9637 9654
Environment:  Ian Hunter MLC 08 8463 5680
Environment Hon Dr Steven Miles  (07) 3719 7330
Premier & Environment (03) 6165 7724  -
Health & Environment minister: Corbell, Simon  (02) 6205 0000