Enclosed burners

Enclosed solid fuel burners cannot be installed in the Nelson Urban Area unless they are replacing an existing lawfully established solid fuel burner that has not been phased out. If there is no existing solid fuel burner in your home you can install an ultra-low emission pellet fire, gas or diesel burner or electric heating such as a heat pump.

Note if you are replacing an existing solid fuel burner with another solid fuel burner, you must have your building consent for the new burner lodged with Council and issued before you remove the existing burner.

Banned as of 1 January 2012

In these areas, enclosed burners installed between 1996 and 1999 can no longer be used or replaced.

  • Airshed A: Hospital area, Bishopdale, Victory, Toi Toi, between the colleges, Washington Valley
  • Airshed B1: Tahunanui and Tahunanui Hills south of The Cliffs

In these areas enclosed burners installed between 1991 and 1995 can no longer be used or replaced.

  • Airshed B2: Stoke, Wakatu and Enner Glynn

Am I affected?

Don't know if your home is affected by the air quality rules? Read more in 'Burners for Beginners'.

What is an enclosed burner?

An enclosed burner is a small-scale fuel-burning appliance, where the combustion of solid fuel occurs within a firebox enclosed by a door, and where there is generally a controlled supply of air to the fire. It includes free-standing or in-built wood burners, pellet fires, potbelly stoves, multi-fuel burners like Junos and 'chippies', and coal ranges, but excludes any open fire.

Examples of enclosed burners

A freestanding woodburner.

Freestanding woodburner


A pellet burner.

Pellet burner


A potbelly stove.



Replacing your enclosed burner

When replacing your enclosed burner the best heating choice you can make for Nelson’s air quality is a non-polluting heater such as a heat pump, electric heater or flued gas heater. You can also choose a Council authorised wood burner or pellet burner to replace your enclosed burner. However, if your burner has been phased out you cannot replace it with another solid fuel burner, except for ultra-low emission pellet burners which can be installed after the phase-out dates.

In the urban Nelson area, and on rural properties less than 2 hectares in size, the only enclosed burners that can replace an existing lawfully established open fireplace or burner are those authorised by the Council as meeting clean air emission and efficiency standards.

Read the list of Council-approved wood burners.

Read the list of Council-approved ultra-low emission pellet burners.

Learn more about other clean heating options available that improve Nelson's air quality.

My existing burner doesn't have a building permit or consent

This can be fixed! You do have to get that legalised before you can replace your burner with another one.

If you want to replace your non-consented burner as soon as possible with an authorised burner you will need to fill out a Burner Authentication Form and apply to the Council and an inspector will call in to check it out. This process costs $120. Burner Authentication Form.

Note: Burner authentication will determine the installation date of your burner and may result in your burner being phased out already under rules above.

If you want to carry on using your non-consented burner before replacing it at a later date you need to get a Certificate of Acceptance from Council. This ensures your burner is safe to continue using, and also 'cleans up' your house's file, making it easier for re-sale or for when you replace the burner with another. Without this there could be insurance implications if the fire were to fail. Contact the Council on +64 3 546 0200 for further details on obtaining a Certificate of Acceptance.

I am building a new home

If you are building a new house or if you don't have an existing fire, you can install an ultra-low emission pellet burner.

Pellet burners are a special type of small-scale wood-burning appliance that burn small compressed sawdust pellets. Because the fuel is of a regular size and moisture content, and pellets are fed into the fire by an electrically driven auger, they burn much more effectively than other wood burners. Some of these burners are so efficient with very low emissions that they can be installed where no previous fireplace existed. A complete list of Council-approved ultra-low emission pellet burners.

For more information or help

Contact the Duty Planner on +64 3 546 0423.