Yarra City Council is pushing for planning changes to enable Victorian councils to ban the installation of new wood heaters on health grounds.
The council's motion to the Municipal Association of Victoria calls on it to urge the state government to introduce stronger planning guidelines on the heaters in built-up metropolitan areas, including a capacity to disallow them in new buildings.
Council watcher Glen McCallum spoke in support of the "long overdue" initiative at the Yarra City meeting, saying it had been "mischaracterised in the media" as solely a matter of public amenity and "quiet enjoyment of one's property", when it actually related to "a very serious health issue".
McCallum referred to expert opinion that having a neighbour with a wood burner was "equivalent to having eight trucks parked outside your house with their engines idling all night".
Currently, there are no grounds under which applications to install new burners can be refused. However, households are required to reduce smoke from wood heaters, and this can be enforced by councils.