Environment Minister David Templeman tonight announced phase one of the 2008 ‘Halt the Haze’ Wood Heater Rebate Program, which encourages Perth and Mandurah residents to scrap unwanted wood heaters and reduce smoke emissions.
And for the first time, the scheme will be extended to selected regional areas over the coming weeks.
Mr Templeman said the May to August program was part of Perth’s Air Quality Management Plan, run by the Department of Environment and Conservation.
As part of phase one of the 2008 program, 2,000 households are eligible for a $150 rebate if they scrap their wood heaters for recycling and consider alternative heating.
Due to its continued expansion and its proximity to the Perth metropolitan region, Mandurah has been included in the first phase of this year’s program. Phase two of the program, which will target selected regional areas, is under development and more details will be announced in the coming weeks.
“The Wood Heater Rebate Program is part of an overall strategy to reduce emissions from wood heaters,” the Minister said.
“Smoke from wood heaters diminishes air quality and creates much maligned haze, which is a blight on our beautiful environment and landscape.
“It can have detrimental health impacts, particularly on the elderly and those suffering from respiratory illnesses.
“While it might sound extraordinary, analysis has shown that cutting smoke from wood heaters can result in savings in our health system of up to $18million per year in Perth alone.
“With the impending extension of the program to regional areas, this benefit will only increase.
“There are only a limited number of rebates available, so I encourage people to act now for the future.”
Mr Templeman said the wood heater rebate program was the result of a 2007 Policy Options Paper that invited public and stakeholder input on future options for tackling Perth’s wood smoke issue. The options presented for consideration included proposals to further reduce the number of wood heaters through a combination of incentives and regulatory measures.
“Figures from the most recent survey data in 2005 show that there are about 52,600 city homes using firewood for heating, burning about 87,000 tonnes of firewood per year and emitting about 970 tonnes of fine particles into the atmosphere,” he said.
“The State Government recognises that wood smoke emissions can be reduced through measures such as improved wood heater operation and standards, a reduction in the numbers of wood heaters in Perth and the use of new low emission wood heaters.
“All these measures will contribute to the shared goal of improved winter air quality.”
There are 2,000 rebates available this year and the program is limited to one rebate per person.
The program involves residents taking their wood heaters to one of 10 regional disposal sites run by local governments throughout Perth and Mandurah. On disposal, people will be given a receipt and a simple form to fill in and send to DEC for their rebate.
In support of the program, Rinnai has donated three Energysaver Gas heaters (model numbers 556FTR or 557FTR) to encourage people to participate. One will be given away each month to eligible participants in the Rebate Program.
Further information on the Wood Heater Rebate Program or the Policy Options Paper is available at http://airquality.environment.wa.gov.au
Minister's office - 9220 5050