ENVIRONMENT Minister Robyn Parker has announced the allocation of A grant of $30,000 for Lithgow City Council for the 2014 Wood Smoke Reduction Program.
While much progress has been made in reducing pollutants over the Lithgow valley, particularly in the morning and during poor weather conditions, the grant will be used to make Lithgow’s air quality even better.
Ms Parker said the NSW Government is concerned about wood smoke because of its potentially adverse impacts on health, particularly for elderly people, children and those with existing health conditions, such as asthma.
“Wood smoke from wood heaters and open fire places is a significant contributor to air pollution particularly during the winter months,” Ms Parker said.
“The NSW Environment Protection Authority is investing $1.3 million over three years in the Wood Smoke Reduction Program.
“Last year the EPA invited councils and regional organisations of councils to apply for grants of up to $60,000 and $100,000 respectively, to carry out wood smoke reduction initiatives this year.
“Four Regional Organisations of Councils and 17 individual councils (60 councils in total) have been awarded grants to provide:
l Community education programs on the health impacts of wood smoke pollution and how best to operate wood heaters;
l Smoky chimney surveys by councils and appropriate educational-enforcement action; and
l Targeted cash incentives to replace old polluting wood heaters and fireplaces with cleaner alternatives.
“The EPA will provide training and further resources to assist with the programs,” Ms Parker said.
“The program is designed to achieve reductions in particle emissions where they are most needed and is community focussed, raising awareness of wood smoke issues and the importance of operating wood heaters correctly.”