NSW

NSW Clean Air Summit attendees were told that, despite being used as the main form of heating by only 5% of households in Sydney, residential wood heating is responsible for more PM2.5 emissions (the most health-hazardous air pollutant) than all other sources put together.

Attendees were also told that residential wood heater smoke is responsible for the premature deaths of 100 Sydneysiders every year, approximately 25% of Sydney's pollution-related deaths.

Studies of real-life emissions in Launceston and New Zealand show that new heaters are almost as polluting as older models and that the current Australian "standard" (changes to which can be vetoed by the profit-driven wood heating industry) is so lax that the average new wood heater continues to emit more PM2.5 per year than 1,000 passenger cars and has estimated health costs of thousands of dollars per heater per year.


A NSW Government consultancy report in 2012 estimated savings in NSW of:
1) $4 billion from phasing out existing wood heaters when houses are sold, 
2) $2.2 billion from not allowing new wood heaters to be installed and 
3) $1.3 billion from "polluter-pays" licencing fees for wood heater use. 

There has been very little reduction in the amount of woodsmoke pollution since the report was produced, a failure that has led to the unnecessary premature deaths of hundreds of NSW Residents.

Modern, efficient heat pumps have superseded wood stoves and natural gas as the most cost-effective heating.  They can deliver 5 or 6 times as much heat to the home as they use in electric power, are affordable (as cheap as buying a wood stove) and have lower running costs than buying firewood.  In addition they cause a lot less global warming, and don't damage our health.

Given the significant threat to health and our climate from the continued installation of new log-burning heaters, and the widespread availability of affordable non-polluting alternatives, will the NSW Government heed the recommendation of the NSW Chief Medical Officer and introduce the 3 policies listed above for all urban areas, or at least allow local councils to introduce them?

If not, given the hundreds of premature deaths that could be avoided every year, why not?
 
Source: material presented at the NSW EPA Clean Air Summit, 27 July 2017.

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