Scientific evidence tells us that inefficient wood burners and poor wood burning technique are responsible for the majority of winter pollution in our region. That’s why we are encouraging the use of ENERGY STAR® qualified heat pumps or modern ultra-low emission burners that emit less smoke than older, more polluting burners. Plus we are encouraging everyone to adopt better burning practices so they get the very best out of their wood burners by learning to burn smoke free.

Which burners are authorised?

Find wood burners and pellet fires authorised for use in Canterbury.

Registering to use your burner for winter 2017

If you live in Timaru, Waimate or Geraldine, some of the home heating measures below may be new to you.

We know that replacing an older burner takes time and money and so if you are experiencing hardship, or not in a position to replace your old wood burner right now, you can register with Environment Canterbury using this online form, and so continue to use that older burner in winter 2017.

Low income households should also take a look at the financial assistance available.

Are you eligible?
Timaru Clean Air Zone
Sites smaller than 2ha with an open fire or older style burner that is 15 years or older are eligible.
Waimate Clean Air Zone
Sites smaller than 2ha with an open fire or newly-purchased properties with an older style burner 15 years or older are eligible.
Geraldine Clean Air Zone
Sites smaller than 2ha with an open fire or newly-purchased properties with an older style burner 15 years or older are eligible.

Home heating measures

There are different home heating measures for different Clean Air Zones, which are areas in Canterbury where air pollution is often high.

To find out what Clean Air Zone you are in visit Canterbury Maps.

We test burners to make sure they can pass an emissions test before authorising them for use.

Region wide
Sites less than 2ha
  • use dry, seasoned wood only
  • no visible smoke, except for brief periods
  • new burners to be installed by an accredited installer
  • ultra-low emission burners and low emission burners are allowed into all homes, including new homes
  • older style burners can be used, but cannot be installed
  • no burning of toxic substances/materials
  • all burners must be registered with Environment Canterbury and all maintenance records must be kept
Sites greater than 2ha
  • no burning of toxic substances/materials
  • best practice to use dry and seasoned wood
  • best practice to have no visible smoke, except for brief periods

Heritage buildings

There are exceptions for listed heritage buildings where the heating appliances and chimney were original features (including restored original features).

Christchurch Clean Air Zone
Sites less than 2ha
  • ultra-low emission burners are allowed into all homes, including new homes
  • installation of low emission burners into new homes is not allowed
  • use of open fires or older style burners is not allowed
  • use of existing low emission burners is allowed for up to 20 years or until 1 January 2019, whichever is later
  • from 1 January 2019 any new burner installed must be an ultra-low emission burner
  • all burners must be registered with Environment Canterbury and all maintenance records must be kept
Sites greater than 2ha
  • ultra-low emission burners and low emission burners are allowed into all homes, including new homes
  • older style burners can be used, but cannot be installed
  • open fires installed from 2013 onwards cannot be used
Waimate Clean Air Zone
Sites less than 2ha
  • ultra-low emission burners and low emission burners are allowed into all homes, including new homes
  • use of open fires is not allowed
  • use of existing older style burners (older than 15 years) is allowed until 1 January 2020
  • if you are purchasing a house with an existing older style burner, it cannot be used from the time of sale
  • installation of low emission burners into new homes is not allowed
  • all burners must be registered with Environment Canterbury and all maintenance records must be kept
Sites greater than 2ha
  • ultra-low emission burners and low emission burners are allowed into all homes, including new homes
  • older style burners can be used, but cannot be installed
Geraldine Clean Air Zone
Sites less than 2ha
  • ultra-low emission burners and low emission burners are allowed into all homes, including new homes
  • use of open fires is not allowed
  • use of existing older style burners (older than 15 years) is allowed until 1 January 2020
  • if you are purchasing a house with an existing older style burner, it cannot be used from the time of sale
  • installation of low emission burners into new homes is not allowed
  • all burners must be registered with Environment Canterbury and all maintenance records must be kept
Sites greater than 2ha
  • ultra-low emission burners and low emission burners are allowed into all homes, including new homes
  • older style burner can be used, but cannot be installed
Timaru Clean Air Zone
Sites less than 2ha
  • ultra-low emission burners are allowed into all homes including new homes
  • use of open fires or older style burners (older than 15 years) is not allowed
  • installation of low emission burners into new homes is not allowed
  • use of existing low emission burners is allowed for up to 15 years or until 1 January 2019, whichever is later
  • from 1 January 2019 any new burner installed must be an ultra-low emission burner
  • all burners must be registered with Environment Canterbury and all maintenance records must be kept
Installing a low-emission burner instead of an ultra-low emission burner (ULEB)

Installation of low-emission burners is only allowed until 1 January 2019 and only into homes that were issued a building consent before 31 December 2015. In older homes, a low-emission burner (instead of an ultra-low emission burner) can only be installed if it is replacing a lawfully operable burner.

A lawfully operable burner is one which is either a low-emitting burner (up to 15 years from the date of installation of that burner; or until 1 January 2019, whichever is later) or an older-style burner that is less than 15 years old from the date of installation into a home.

If you choose to replace your older-style burner with a low-emission burner before the 1 January 2019 cut-off, it can only be used for 15 years from the date of installation into your home. Please note: If you choose to install an ULEB, there is no timeframe for its use under the current Air Plan.

Sites greater than 2ha

  • ultra-low emission burners and low emission burners are allowed into all homes, including new homes
  • older style burners can be used, but cannot be installed
  • open fires installed from 2013 onwards cannot be used
Ashburton Clean Air Zone
Sites less than 2ha
  • ultra-low emission burners are allowed into all homes including new homes
  • use of open fires or older style burners (older than 15 years) is not allowed
  • installation of low emission burners into new homes is not allowed
  • use of existing low emission burners is allowed for up to 20 years or until 1 January 2019, whichever is later
  • from 1 January 2019 any new burner installed must be an ultra-low emission burner
  • all burners must be registered with Environment Canterbury and all maintenance records must be kept
Installing a low-emission burner instead of an ultra-low emission burner (ULEB)
Installation of low-emission burners is only allowed until 1 January 2019 and only into homes that were issued a building consent before 31 December 2015. In older homes, a low-emission burner (instead of an ultra-low emission burner) can only be installed if it is replacing a lawfully operable burner.

A lawfully operable burner is one which is either a low-emitting burner (up to 15 years from the date of installation of that burner; or until 1 January 2019, whichever is later) or an older-style burner that is less than 15 years old from the date of installation into a home.

If you choose to replace your older-style burner with a low-emission burner before the 1 January 2019 cut-off, it can only be used for 15 years from the date of installation into your home. Please note: If you choose to install an ULEB, there is no timeframe for its use under the current Air Plan.

Sites greater than 2ha

  • ultra-low emission burners and low emission burners are allowed into all homes, including new homes
  • older style burners can be used, but cannot be installed
  • open fires installed from 2013 onwards cannot be used
Rangiora Clean Air Zone
Sites less than 2ha
  • ultra-low emission burners are allowed into all homes including new homes
  • use of open fires or older style burners (older than 15 years) is not allowed
  • installation of low emission burners into new homes is not allowed
  • use of existing low emission burners is allowed for up to 20 years or until 1 January 2019, whichever is later
  • from 1 January 2019 any new burner installed must be an ultra-low emission burner
  • all burners must be registered with Environment Canterbury and all maintenance records must be kept
Installing a low-emission burner instead of an ultra-low emission burner (ULEB)

Installation of low-emission burners is only allowed until 1 January 2019 and only into homes that were issued a building consent before 31 December 2009. In older homes, a low-emission burner (instead of an ultra-low emission burner) can only be installed if it is replacing a lawfully operable burner.

A lawfully operable burner is one which is either a low-emitting burner (up to 15 years from the date of installation of that burner; or until 1 January 2019, whichever is later) or an older-style burner that is less than 15 years old from the date of installation into a home.

If you choose to replace your older-style burner with a low-emission burner before the 1 January 2019 cut-off, it can only be used for 15 years from the date of installation into your home. Please note: If you choose to install an ULEB, there is no timeframe for its use under the current Air Plan.

Sites greater than 2ha
  • ultra-low emission burners and low emission burners are allowed into all homes, including new homes
  • older style burners can be used, but cannot be installed
  • open fires installed from 2013 onwards cannot be used
Kaiapoi Clean Air Zone
Sites less than 2ha
  • ultra-low emission burners are allowed into all homes including new homes
  • use of open fires or older style burners (older than 15 years) is not allowed
  • installation of low emission burners into new homes is not allowed
  • use of existing low emission burners is allowed for up to 20 years or until 1 January 2019, whichever is later
  • from 1 January 2019 any new burner installed must be an ultra-low emission burner
  • all burners must be registered with Environment Canterbury and all maintenance records must be kept
Installing a low-emission burner instead of an ultra-low emission burner (ULEB)

Installation of low-emission burners is only allowed until 1 January 2019 and only into homes that were issued a building consent before 31 December 2009. In older homes, a low-emission burner (instead of an ultra-low emission burner) can only be installed if it is replacing a lawfully operable burner.

A lawfully operable burner is one which is either a low-emitting burner (up to 15 years from the date of installation of that burner; or until 1 January 2019, whichever is later) or an older-style burner that is less than 15 years old from the date of installation into a home.

If you choose to replace your older-style burner with a low-emission burner before the 1 January 2019 cut-off, it can only be used for 15 years from the date of installation into your home. Please note: If you choose to install an ULEB, there is no timeframe for its use under the current Air Plan.

Sites greater than 2ha
  • ultra-low emission burners and low emission burners are allowed into all homes, including new homes
  • older style burners can be used, but cannot be installed
  • open fires installed from 2013 onwards cannot be used

Burner types

There are five basic types of home heating appliances: gas and diesel burners, ultra-low emission burners, low emission burners, older-style burners and open fires.

Use the drop-down menus below to find out more about each type and how our home heating measures apply to them.

Older technology is being phased out over time and financial assistance is available, where genuine need exists, to enable households to upgrade their home heating systems.

You can also apply for burner extensions in some areas (see 'Registering your burner for an extension' below) to allow for sufficient time to change.

Gas and diesel burners
Gas and diesel burners are generally boilers or gas fires that run on LPG or diesel. So long as they have a rated output of 40kW or less, they are allowed to be used anywhere, with no age restriction.
Ultra-low emission burners
Ultra-low emission burners are any solid fuel burners, including pellet burners, that achieve a stringent real-life emission standard – they are the cleanest solid fuel burners and are allowed anywhere with no age restriction.
Low emission burners
Low emission burners are the most common wood burners in Canterbury and have been around since the early 2000s. These burners only burn wood and will generally have only one air flow control and will not be able to be banked down overnight. You can use these burners in most areas, but in some Clean Air Zones they are being phased out.
Older-style burners
Older-style burners are generally only common outside of Christchurch, Kaiapoi, Rangiora and Ashburton. They may have two air flow controls, a grate and an ash pan and may be multi-fuel burners. They can be banked down overnight. These burners are being phased out in all Clean Air Zones and in Christchurch they can no longer be used.
Open fires
Open fires are any fire places that are not enclosed and in which air flow cannot be controlled. These burners are being phased out in all Clean Air Zones and in Rangiora, Kaiapoi, Christchurch, Ashburton and Timaru they can no longer be used

Registering your new burner

If you are installing a wood burner or pellet fire within a Clean Air Zone, you will need to register it using our Solid Fuel Burner Database or by ringing customer services with your details.

You can also use the database to:

  • check the age of your existing burner
  • check the age of a burner at a property you are thinking of purchasing
  • let us know when home ownership changes
  • update your burner details, such as its make and model.