Clean-heating loan scheme launched

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The launch of a new interest-free loan scheme will make cleaner home heating more affordable for Gore residents.
The Clean Air Loans Gore Scheme was launched on Monday and is a collaboration between the Gore District Council, Environment Southland and Awarua Synergy to help residents who have to upgrade their home heating to comply with the Southland regional air plan.
Residents can apply for an interest-free loan of up to $5000 to install approved clean-heating options and insulate their homes.
Due to the air plan, open fires can no longer be used in the Invercargill and Gore airsheds and other non-compliant burners in the area will be phased out over the next 18 years.
Environment Southland will contribute $140,000 a year for the next three years for the heating scheme and the Gore District Council will contribute $50,000 for a loan pilot scheme to provide insulation.
Environment Southland chairman Nicol Horrell said he was pleased the council had supported the scheme, which would be reviewed at the end of the three-year period.
“[It will be] interesting to see what happens with air quality over that time and what the uptake is.
“It’s great to have Gore on board,” Mr Horrell said.
Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks said the council supported the scheme to ensure the benefits of any new heating would not be lost through poor insulation.
“We are really pleased to be part of this,” Mr Hicks said.
Awarua Synergy general manager Sumaria Beaton said the scheme could potentially help 60 to 70 families.
“This means that we can help residents in Gore that have been wanting to upgrade.”
Gore district ratepayers who had a non-compliant burner or an open fire could apply for a loan, she said.
Applications for the scheme must be made through Awarua Synergy and repayment will be collected by the council.