A study commissioned by Forestry Tasmania shows that 80 per cent of emissions in Tasmania’s Huon Valley is from woodheaters, not regeneration burns.
Forestry asked the CSIRO to study smoke pollution after autumn regeneration burns sparked widespread complaints from Huon Valley residents.
Dr Mick Meyer compared air quality at Geeveston and rural Grove in the Huon Valley for 18 months.
The study revealed that although burn-offs looked dramatic, they produced fewer airborne particles than domestic fires because the smoke column rises above the lower atmosphere.
Eighty per cent of smoke particles in the atmosphere were from wood heaters and only 11 per cent were caused by regeneration burns.
The remaining smoke pollution was from privately lit fires.
Smoke from regeneration burns exceeded healthy limits only three times between April 2009 and May this year.
Dr Meyer says wood heater smoke tends to hang over houses, whereas regeneration burn smoke plumes have enough energy to travel into the troposphere and are dispersed by wind.
• Kim Booth: Forestry tries to spin results of CSIRO emissions study
FORESTRY TRIES TO SPIN RESULTS OF CSIRO EMISSIONS STUDY
More Smoke and Mirrors from an Out-of-Touch Agency
Kim Booth MP
Greens Forestry Spokesperson
Thursday 25 August 2011
The Tasmanian Greens today said that a CSIRO study comparing smoke emissions from wood-heaters with forestry burn-offs did nothing to justify Forestry Tasmania’s outdated and unsustainable management practices.
The study, commissioned by Forestry Tasmania, found that the majority of smoke pollution in specific parts of the Huon Valley during 2009 and 2010 was caused by wood-heater emissions.
Greens Forestry spokesperson Kim Booth MP said that these results aren’t surprising, particularly in the more densely populated areas such as Geeveston and Grove where the study was conducted.
“This is not a case of one type of smoke pollution being better than another. All smoke emissions are an unwanted nuisance for the community, particularly for those with pre-existing respiratory problems such as asthma.”
“The commissioning and release of this study by Forestry Tasmania is another obvious attempt to justify their so-called regeneration burns. That’s despite the Environment Protection Authority identifying numerous breaches of guideline safety levels for particle emissions caused by burn-offs.”
“We need to be working as a community to reduce all smoke emissions and improve air quality. This means that we must work to educate people on the importance of installing heaters that burn efficiently, and comply with Australian standards.”
“Forestry can’t play down the negative impact of its burn-offs. The Greens receive many complaints from people suffering from respiratory problems, such as asthma, who have no option in some cases but to pack up and leave home during the forest burns season.”
“Proper systems need to be put in place, or its time these burns were stopped once and for all.”