CONTROVERSY has arisen over Armidale Regional Council’s support for a policy giving it power to take action on wood-fire pollution.
The decision will help develop legislation that allows local councils to remove wood heaters when houses are sold.
But Cr Debra O’Brien stressed the motion did not mean Council would rip existing wood fires from homes.
“I saw the evidence that was provided to me about the level of pollution and the potential severe effect that it would have on health. It’s clearly a problem,” Cr O’Brien said.
We’re only asking for power from the state government to be able to handle and attack the pollution problem.Debra O'Brien.
“We’re only asking for power from the state government to be able to handle and attack the pollution problem.
“I would only ever agree to anything in the future if it didn’t cost individual people more.”
It will allow Council to provide incentives to switch to non-polluting heating and have power to take action against unhealthy levels of wood smoke pollution.
From June 19 to July 3, Armidale air quality exceeded the maximum level of particulate matter, that has similar health effects to tobacco smoke, eight times.
Councillors John Galletly, Peter Bailey, Diane Gray, Libby Martin and Andrew Murat voted against the motion and asked to have their dissent recorded.
With mayor Simon Murray absent, the decision was made with Greens deputy mayor Dorothy Robinson casting the deciding vote.
“The fact that we can’t meet national air quality standards could be a big turn-off for young families and retirees who might think twice when they know about the substantial difference in life expectancy [in the New England],” Cr Robinson said.