Regulating air quality

A framework of Acts, Regulations, policies and programs help the EPA support industry and the community in using cleaner environmental practices.

Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997

The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 sets the statutory framework for managing air quality in NSW, including establishing the licensing scheme for major industrial premises and a range of air pollution offences and penalties.  It is supported by the Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Regulation 2009, which provides for

  • the administration of the licensing scheme
  • economic incentives for licensed businesses and industry to reduce pollution, including emissions to air, through load-based licensing.

The load-based licensing scheme links licence fees to the volume of pollutants emitted so the greater the emissions, the higher the fees. 

Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation 2010

The Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation 2010 contains provisions to regulate emissions from

The EPA has provided a guide to Part 5 of the Regulation.

National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure

The NSW Government is a signatory to the National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure (Air NEPM). The NEPM sets standards for six key air pollutants: carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, ozone and particles (particulates). Particles included are:

  • PM10  – particles smaller than 10 micrometres in diameter
  • PM2.5 – particles smaller than 2.5 micrometres in diameter

Statutory methods for assessing and sampling air pollutants

The legislation is supported by EPA documents that provide the approved statutory methods for assessing and sampling air pollutants in NSW.

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