Media release

ORC urging outdoor burners to be more considerate of community health

Tuesday 28 September 2021

A burn off last week in the Upper Clutha that may have caused health impacts in the community, including reports of primary school children needing to remain inside, has prompted a strong rebuke from the Otago Regional Council.

ORC Manager Compliance Tami Sargeant says people undertaking outdoor burn-offs where smoke crosses their property boundary have had plenty of notice that such activities breach current air plan regulations.

Outdoor burning.

“We have no tolerance for outdoor burning that breaches regional plan rules. We’re putting the call out there for anyone who wishes to conduct an outdoor burn off to apply some good old-fashioned consideration for others in their community before lighting any fires.

“Not only can a burn off be inconsiderate and potentially harmful to human, animal and environmental health, but any burn-off that causes offensive and objectionable smoke beyond your property boundary is prohibited under Otago Air Plan rules.”

“We understand there’s a need for some rural properties to undertake a controlled burn-off, however, please remember your community breathes what you burn,” says Mrs Sargeant. “Please ensure that what you’re burning, and the size of your burn-off means the smoke won’t cause a nuisance to your neighbours and community.”

ORC has produced a quick guide to rules around outdoor burning in Otago, aimed to help anyone navigate which rules apply in which area of Otago.

You can view the guide here.