Air Quality

The Southland Regional Air Plan means we have to phase out coal-fired home heating and replace it with cleaner forms of heating, such as a wood burner, pellet burner or heat pump.

To help residents in the Gore airshed replace their home heating appliances, the Gore District Council has joined with Environment Southland and Awarua Synergy to provide interest free loans. We have also provided some money for interest-free loans to upgrade insulation, in conjunction with upgrading heating systems.

To find out more go to Clean Air Loans Gore.

Gore airshed [PNG, 478 KB]

Environment Southland is charged with monitoring air quality and ensuring Government regulations are adhered to. More information about air quality and what you can do to help can be found on the Breathe Easy Southland Website.

Southland Regional Air Plan Rules

Open fires

As of 1 January 2017 open fires were prohibited in the Gore airshed. There are some exceptions for open fires in recorded heritage buildings and those used in industrial or trade premises exclusively for smoking and cooking of food.

Non-compliant wood burners and multi-fuel burners

If your wood burner was installed after September 2005, it may be on the MfE approved list and may not require replacement.

When was your burner installed?What is the new rule?
Before 1 January 1997 You may use your burner until 1 January 2020, however you must burn only wood from 1 January 2017.
Between 1 January 1997 and 1 January 2001 You may use your burner until 1 January 2022.
Between 1 January 2001 and 1 September 2005 You may use your burner until 1 January 2025.
Between 1 September 2005 and 1 January 2010 You may use your burner until 1 January 2030.
Between 1 January 2010 and 6 September 2014 You may use your burner until 1 January 2034.


NB: If your multi-fuel burner was installed after 1997 you can burn coal in it until the phase out date.

You can find out when your burner was installed by contacting our Building Control team, phone 209 0330.

201309 airshed

Map of the Gore Airshed

Gore airshed

An airshed is an urban area where air quality has been identified as an issue.

The Gore airshed extends from Terry Road in the west to River Road in the east, and Racecourse Road to the south and Hokonui Drive/SH94 passed the Heartland Hotel. All of East Gore is also included.

District-wide Restrictions

Are there restrictions on what can be burnt?

Yes. It is an offence to burn the following:

  • Tyres,
  • Wire that is coated in any material,
  • Oil in the open air, and
  • Bitumen on roads.

Offences can result in legal prosecution.

In addition you should not burn treated timber, plastics, disposable nappies or other household rubbish. This can result in harmful pollutants being released into the air. You should not burn timber from building sites, fences or decks as it may be treated.

Do restrictions apply to the installation of wood burners?

Yes. Only approved wood burners are allowed to be installed in homes on properties of less than 2 hectares. The Ministry for the Environment has a list of approved wood burners that comply with strict emission standards.

What can you do to make a difference?

Regardless of where you live there are a number of things you can do to help keep our air clean. These include:

  • Do not burn green waste - take it to the tip. In rural areas, if burning must take place, make sure the green waste is dry and the wind is not going to carry smoke into any nearby towns.
  • If burning wood in your fire, make sure it is dry. If collecting your own fire wood, do so in spring or early summer so it has plenty of time to dry out. Store the wood off the ground and under shelter from the rain.
  • Never use drift wood or timber that has been treated or painted.
  • Burn smaller and hotter fires. Do not overload the burner as this produces more smoke.
  • When starting your fire use plenty of crumpled paper with kindling on top. Keep all vents open until the fire is well alight.
  • If burning coal, use wood to get a good hot base first.
  • Do not turn down (dampen down) your burner overnight. A smouldering fire produces more smoke.
  • Make sure you have a clean chimney. This also reduces the risk of a house fire.
  • Check for smoke coming from your chimney.

More information is available from Environment Southland or the Ministry for the Environment.

Gore District Council 29 Bowler Avenue Gore P: 03 209 0330 E: