Media release

ORC responding to Hāwea Flat smoke complaints

Thursday 27 May 2021

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) Pollution Hotline has received over 40 complaints since Wednesday 25 May regarding the burn off being undertaken at a property in Hāwea Flat.

ORC Manager Compliance Tami Sargeant said ORC has been on-site twice and is working with the property owner to ensure this burn off and other planned burn offs will have as little impact on the community as possible.

“Our Pollution Response team has been in contact with the property owner to ensure they are aware and comply with rules under the Otago Air Plan. They have been advised to extinguish the existing burn off that has generated the smoke complaints.

“Strategies to minimise community impact include choosing days with a slight northerly breeze to help take the smoke away from the township of Hāwea and avoiding days that have an inversion layer which trap smoke at ground level. The property owner felled and split the trees last year to give them the best chance to dry out over the summer, which means they burn more efficiently and produce less smoke.

“We would like to reassure the community that we are aware of this burn off and we are monitoring it closely.”

Under ORC’s draft Long-term Plan, the Air Plan for Otago will be reviewed in the 2022/23 year, and this will be an opportunity for anyone to provide feedback on making the rules and air zones fit for purpose.

The current Air Plan can be viewed online: