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Tasmanian Air Quality Strategy launched

A blueprint for managing air quality in Tasmania for the next five years was launched at Hobart's new air monitoring station at New Town at the weekend.

The new strategy was developed in consultation with the community and stakeholders and will help both regulatory authorities, industry and the broader community maintain and improve Tasmania’s air quality.

A major goal of the strategy is to assist Tasmania to meet, and hopefully better, the National Air Quality Standards and Goals by 2008.

The strategy has a strong focus on fine and ultra fine particle pollution (PM10 and PM2.5 respectively) in critical areas such as Launceston and Hobart, as particle pollution is the primary air quality issue for Tasmania.

There are a number of initiatives in the strategy that address better management of wood combustion from domestic sources and industrial plants.

This includes the Government’s four-year, ,000 program to upgrade the Tasmanian Air Quality Monitoring System to provide more accurate information on this type of pollution and its causes.

Regulations are also being developed within the strategy framework to address smoke from domestic wood heaters and backyard burning.

In some areas such as Launceston, wood smoke from woodheaters is a large contributor during the winter months.

While there has been significant improvement on the air quality in Launceston, there is still a way to go and the Air Quality Strategy is an important step to achieving full compliance with the national standard.

Tasmanians will be encouraged to think about how they operate their woodheaters and whether they can use alternative forms of heating or use their woodheaters less.

The Strategy addresses a range of topics, including:

- domestic heating, including fuels, energy efficiency and costs;
- backyard burning;
- monitoring;
- community education;
- industrial regulation and cleaner production;
- emissions from motor vehicles;
- planned burning; and
- environmental considerations in planning.

Launching the Strategy, the Minister for Tourism, Arts and the Environment, Paula Wriedt, encouraged people to get online and check out the Environment Challenge website at www.up2me.com.au.

"One of the challenges on this site is to use your woodheater less, to improve winter air quality." she said.

"There is some great information on this site to help people have a positive impact on the environment, and if we all make one small change, collectively this can have a huge benefit on the environment."