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The council has proposed a two-year pause on air quality work, including subsidising clean heating options.
The region suffers air quality issues in Arrowtown, Clyde, Cromwell, Alexandra, Milton, and elsewhere.
But the council said it needed to pause and “rethink” its approach until 2023-24, when it would implement a new air quality programme that focused on rules on air emissions.
Its 2021-31 plan includes a 47.5% rates rise in year 1 and the council said its proposal to only monitor air quality would help to keep the rates rise at that level.
Health board public health policy and strategy team leader Tom Scott said it was important to recognise the role of air quality on health.
Heating technology was improving, bringing the cost of running heating down.
The council should acknowledge phasing out solid fuel burning might have to be an option in its troubled air sheds.