|dc.description.abstract||On many winter evenings in Christchurch, particulate air pollution reaches concentrations that are detrimental for public health. The Canterbury Regional Council (CRC) is currently in the process of preparing a proposed regional air plan, Part A: Air, which will control emissions from domestic solid fuel burners by banning coal burning, open fires, and placing emission criteria on remaining burners in the Christchurch Clean Air Zone 2000.
These domestic burning policies will require change in the home heating behaviour of approximately 50000 Christchurch households, who will inevitably incur costs. The purpose of my study is to assist the CRC in meeting its obligations to mitigate social effects, by identifying the social issues associated with domestic burning policies included in the draft Part A: Air, and developing an anticipatory social assessment strategy for addressing those issues.
The analytical framework I developed to structure my analysis, integrated a policy cycle model with a social assessment model to illustrate how social assessment could complement plan preparation processes under the Resource Management Act 1991, and later implementation. My analysis consisted of three stages. Firstly, I identified social issues according to the three categories of 'costs to users', 'social impacts' and 'public acceptance'. Secondly, I carried out a brief institutional analysis to determine how various institutions currently contribute to addressing the issues, what the key problem areas are, and further contributions organisations could make to addressing these. In the third stage, I developed a strategy to address social impact issues.
The main issues identified in association with 'costs to users' were, firstly, the uncertainty of ongoing funding for incentives programmes. Secondly, poor energy conservation measures serve to increase the costs of home heating. Recommendations to address these issues include: advocating the continuation of current funding programmes, such as the Christchurch Clean Air and Energy Efficiency Incentives Programme; and lobbying central government to continue funding the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority.
Public acceptance of policies is relatively high, but a significant proportion of the population continue to oppose the domestic burning policies. It appears that, in addition to costs of replacing heating appliances, lack or denial of information, misinformation, and lack of regard for public good are some factors that contribute to opposition. Opinions are based, not only around management policies themselves, but also around the definition of air pollution issues, personal effects of the policies, and perceptions of the process being undertaken by the CRC. Recommendations for the CRC to further encourage public acceptance include: maintaining a high profile and continuing education and publicity. More specifically, a mobile information desk that can take information to the suburban community, and regular columns in newspapers are recommended as communication channels to respond to public concerns, disseminate new information and address the issues around which people form opposition,.
The greatest social impacts will be incurred by those households with the least expendable income. Hardship in Christchurch is increasing quite independently of domestic burning policies, and these policies will inevitably exacerbate hardship problems. One of the problems associated with addressing these social impacts is the lack of clear delineation of functions between the CRC and Christchurch City Council (CCC) in relation to community wellbeing and funding. The strategy I develop for addressing these social impacts consists of five elements: funding, provision of assistance, identification of the target population, coordination, and monitoring and evaluation. The strategy advocates the utilisation of existing institutional structures and functions, directing them towards CRC's goals of avoiding, remedying, or mitigating increased hardship as a result of their policies. A variety of organisations including government bodies (e.g., Crown Public Health, and the CCC), community service organisations (e.g., Community Energy Action and the Mayors Welfare Fund) and private sector organisations (e.g., Southpower) are included in the strategy. To address social impacts, my recommendations essentially establish a set of five working groups to scope, plan and start running the five elements of the strategy.
Additional recommendations relate to: clarifying the roles and functions of the CRC and CCC; expressing concerns to the central government and recommending they address community hardship.||en