About Residential Indoor Wood Burning Bylaw 1303


Residential Indoor Wood Burning Bylaw 1303, 2020 

To reduce emissions from residential indoor wood burning, the Metro Vancouver Regional District (MVRD) Board adopted Metro Vancouver Regional District Residential Indoor Wood Burning Emission Regulation Bylaw 1303, 2020 in March 2020. This bylaw is intended to reduce impacts to health and the environment of residential wood smoke.

 Bylaw 1303, 2020 - A Bylaw to Regulate the Discharge of Air Contaminants from Residential Indoor Wood Burning Appliances

  • What is residential indoor wood burning?

    Residential indoor wood burning refers to using a wood-burning appliance, such as a fireplace or wood stove, indoors for heat or ambiance. It does not include using a wood burning appliance to cook food or outdoor wood-fired hot tubs and heaters. The bylaw specifically includes the following residential indoor wood-burning appliances: pellet stoves, masonry heaters, wood-burning furnaces, and fireplace inserts.

  • Why is Metro Vancouver regulating residential indoor wood burning?

    Residential indoor wood burning is the single largest contributor to harmful fine particle emissions in the Metro Vancouver region. Fine particles are linked to negative health effects, particularly for the elderly, children, and people with chronic heart and lung issues.

    Although steps have been taken to reduce residential indoor wood burning emissions through voluntary measures, such as rebates for exchanging an old appliance for a new low-emission appliance and education campaigns, additional measures are required to reduce emissions.

  • What are the new bylaw requirements?

    In March 2020, Metro Vancouver adopted a residential indoor wood burning bylaw. The bylaw requires residents who use wood-burning appliances to comply with “Best Burning Practices”, as defined in Schedule B. The bylaw also prohibits burning during the warmer season (May 15 to September 15) unless the wood-burning appliance is the sole source of heat in a residence, is in an off-grid residence outside the Urban Containment Boundary, or if there is an emergency (such as a power outage lasting for 3 hours or more).

    Requirements will be phased in to promote cleaner technologies, with more stringent requirements in more densely populated areas. These requirements are being introduced in stages between 2020 and 2025 and will help further reduce exposure to wood smoke emissions:

  • What are best burning practices?

    Anyone using a wood-burning appliance in the Metro Vancouver region is now required to use best burning practices to reduce wood smoke emissions.

    These best burning practices must be applied to minimize smoke:

    • Your fire must produce no visible emissions except for a maximum of 20 minutes within a four-hour period, when starting a new fire.
    • Operate your wood-burning appliance according to the manufacturer’s recommended operating procedures.
    • Minimize smoke by only burning clean, seasoned wood, manufactured firelogs, or wood pellets and for the purpose of starting a fire only, non-glossy, uncoated, uncoloured paper.
    • Never burn garbage, including plastics, rubber, treated wood and painted wood. These release toxic chemicals.
    • Burn small, hot fires. They produce much less smoke than those left to smoulder.
    • If you need to burn a fire overnight to provide a heat source, load your fuel to prevent the fire smouldering. For more details, please see Schedule B of the bylaw
    • Inspect and maintain your wood-burning appliance regularly based on the recommendations of a qualified person.
  • When do the warm season burning prohibitions apply?

    The prohibitions apply during the warm season from May 15 to September 15 each year. Starting on May 15, 2021, you will be prohibited from using your wood-burning appliance during the warm season, unless it is a home’s sole source of heat, or it is in an off-grid home located outside the Urban Containment Boundary, or there is an emergency (such as a power outage lasting 3 hours or more).

  • What is the Urban Containment Boundary?

    The Urban Containment Boundary (UCB) designates the area or “footprint” in the region within which urban development may occur. The UCB is defined in Metro Vancouver 2040: Shaping our Future (page 15), the regional growth strategy, which was accepted by all Metro Vancouver members and the Metro Vancouver Board in 2011 (Greater Vancouver Regional District Regional Growth Strategy Bylaw No. 1136, 2010, and as amended from time to time).

    The new residential indoor wood burning bylaw treats wood-burning appliances within the UCB more strictly than appliances outside it, because smoke from a single wood-burning appliance is likely to impact more people within the UCB, where there is higher population density.

  • Why is the start date of restricted use different for the Village of Lions Bay?

    Village of Lions Bay residents expressed broad concerns about the implications of restrictions on wood-burning appliances in a community without access to natural gas, particularly if there are power outages. The Village of Lions Bay requested that Metro Vancouver implement an extended deadline for their community.

  • What if I rely on wood as a sole source of heat for my home?

    If you rely on wood heating as the only source of heat in your home, you must submit a declaration of compliance with best burning practices by September 15, 2022. Warm season restrictions (May 15 – September 15) do not apply for homes with no other source of heat.

    If wood burning is the sole source of heat and you are inside the Urban Containment Boundary (UCB), you need to register eligible appliances with Metro Vancouver by September 15, 2022 to continue using them after September 2025. Appliances outside the UCB do not need to be registered.

  • What if I need to use my wood-burning appliance?

    In the following instances, you may use any wood-burning appliance:

    • During emergencies, such as power outages lasting more than three hours.
    • Households where a wood-burning appliance provides the only source of heat*.
    • In remote, off-grid locations located outside the Urban Containment Boundary.
    • If operated within a low-income household.

    * declaration and registration requirements apply within the Urban Containment Boundary after September 15, 2022

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