Summary of public consultation outcomes

Outcomes of the public consultation process undertaken in making the Protection of the Environment (General) Amendment (Pollution Incident Response Management Plans) Regulation 2012

Key issues raised Relevant clause of the draft Regulation How this has been addressed by the EPA?

There is potential for duplication with existing plans in place for emergency response.

98B(2) and 98D(c) The initial proposal allowed for information to be contained in other plans. Further clarification has been made so that it is clear that a PIRMP can be included within a single plan which may be a subset of another plan or document.

In most cases it is expected that the licence holder will amend their existing Emergency Management Plan, Occupational Health and Safety Plan or Hazard and Critical Control Point Plan.

The requirement to list the quantity of pollutants on site is not practical as this will constantly change. 98C(e) Clause has been amended to the ‘maximum quantity of each pollutant likely to be stored/held at each location’ (to ensure that the greatest risk is planned for) rather than requiring details of quantities to be revised within the plan as they change over time during an operation.
Privacy concerns regarding publishing the names and 24-hour contact details of individual staff. 98C(g) Clause has been amended so that the licence holder is not required to release the section of the plan or any personal information within the meaning of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 to members of the public.
Requirement to provide names and contact details of owners and occupiers in the vicinity of the premises is both onerous and impractical. 98C(h) Clause removed.

The guidelines for PIRMPs will provide information on the types of details that should be considered for inclusion in the community notification protocol.

Further clarification is required on the meaning of mechanisms for ‘early warning’. 98C(m) No change to the regulation is required.

The guidelines for PIRMP will include further information on mechanisms for providing an early warning of a pollution incident.

The requirement to include details of staff training in the PIRMP will require it to be constantly updated and this is not practical. 98C(1)(o) and (p)

These clauses have been deleted and replaced with a more general requirement that the PIRMP set out the nature and objectives of any staff training program.

The need to include details on the notification of relevant authorities in the PIRMP is a duplication which could cause confusion with the other notification protocols in place. 98C(1)(j) and (k)

98 C(2)(c ) and (e)

EPA acknowledges that this requirement overlaps with the POEO Act.

These clauses have all been deleted and replaced with a general reference to s.153 of the POEO Act.

Security concerns regarding providing details of chemicals on site, detailed site map being available on a public website. 98D(a) The EPA acknowledges that sensitive information from a security perspective should not be required to be made publicly available.

The clause has been amended so that the only parts of the plan to be made available to the public are those set out in

  • s.153C(a) of the Act - procedures to be followed in notifying relevant authorities of a pollution incident
  • cl.98C(1)(i) - details for mechanisms for early warning for a premises
  • 98C (2)(c) - details for a community engagement protocol to notify people living or working in the vicinity of an incident for waste transporters.
The requirement to provide a hard copy of the plan to the public on request should be made in writing so that the request is clear and documented. 98D(a)(ii) The clause has been amended so that the licence holder need only make a copy of the relevant parts of the plan available to a member of the public where a person makes a written request for a copy.
There needs to be further clarification of what is meant by ‘publicly accessible website’, particularly in terms of multinational/corporate websites? 98D(a)(ii) The guidelines for PIRMP provide further information on appropriate websites and the intent of this requirement.
The requirement to test the plans annually is too broad and needs to be clarified. 98E The clause has been amended to require licence holders to test their plan to ensure it is accurate and up-to-date, and a range of fit-for-purpose testing requirements is allowed for.

The aim of testing a plan is to ensure it is accurate, adequate and workable. Licence holders will be expected to test their plans for accuracy and currency in a way that relates to the activity they are carrying on and the environmental risk associated with it. Smaller, lower risk facilities might carry out a desktop test of the document. Larger facilities might carry out an emergency response drill.

The guidelines for PIRMP will provide further information on what testing a plan may involve.

The requirement to test and review the plans within one month is onerous and not practical. 98E(b)

The clause has been amended to clarify that within one month of a pollution incident, the plan must be tested to determine whether the plan is still current and adequate in light of any issues raised from dealing with the pollution incident.

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