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Where there’s smoke there’s … a fine

Winter is here and those with smoking chimneys need to watch out.

In a bid to bring pollution levels down, Environment Canterbury (ECan) will be targeting residents in Timaru, Geraldine and Waimate with smoky chimneys.

It’s all part of a new rule, as proposed in the Canterbury Air Regional Plan, and applies to all properties in clean air zones.

The new rule allows for only 15 minutes of visible smoke following start-up and five minutes on reloading. If a chimney is observed smoking for more than 15 minutes, residents can expect to receive information and burning instructions.

Break the rule a second time and expect a formal warning. Breaking it a third time will land you an abatement notice and failure to comply will land you a $750 fine.

ECan director for air Katherine Trought said it’s about re-learning the lost art of burning a good fire.

While some may think the end penalty is steep, it should be a deterrent for those woodburner owners who don’t take the issue of winter air pollution seriously.

Toe the line and you shouldn’t have a problem. Ignore your smoking chimney and ECan will act.

Winter is also a time to take more care on our roads.

Queen’s Birthday weekend resulted in another tragic holiday road toll.

The death on Monday of five-year-old Levin boy Kaide Preston, in Starship Hospital from injuries sustained in a crash on Friday, raised the long weekend holiday road toll from four to five.

Canterbury also featured again, with two fatalities recorded.

Only hours after the official holiday road toll period closed at 6am on Tuesday, another driver was killed when a car and truck collided on State Highway 1, about 30 kilometres south of Oamaru.

Last week a report by the International Transport Forum reported New Zealand was one of eight member countries that could not reduce its number of road deaths. In fact, we had the worst spike in road deaths across much of the developed world in 2014.

Police assistant commissioner Dave Cliff acknowledged most New Zealand drivers were getting the message about good driving practices, but some were still struggling.

He said the same factors seemed to be responsible; speed, alcohol and failing to pay attention.

The Government can introduce tougher laws, like lower drink-driving and speed limits, but the onus is on us as individuals.

– Via Timaru Herald /