Costs and benefits of air pollution controls

The EPA uses economic analyses and tools to inform the development of environmental regulations and policies. Estimates of costs and benefits provide stakeholders with important information during consultation on proposals.

Particular techniques can be used to estimate the costs and benefits associated with air pollution controls.

The report, Air Pollution Economics - Health Costs of Air Pollution in the Greater Sydney Metropolitan Region (218KB), evaluates a range of air pollutants and estimates the health costs of ambient air pollution in the Greater Sydney Metropolitan Region, which includes Sydney, Illawarra and the lower Hunter. The report was prepared to improve understanding of the costs of air pollution and to assist decision-making on proposals that may affect air quality.

Methodology for valuing the health impacts of changes in particle emissions

The EPA engaged PAEHolmes to develop a methodology that accounts for health impacts associated with changes in particle emissions and adjusts for the variation in those impacts across populations. The methodology

  • is intended for use in economic cost benefit analyses to inform air quality management
  • proposes a way to value the health impacts of one tonne of particle emissions in Australian towns and cities
  • uses population density reflecting that smaller towns usually have lower population density and more space for particle emissions to disperse

Total health impacts of air pollution relate to the level of ambient air pollution and how many people are exposed.

Individual exposure to outdoor air pollution may depend on many factors including

  • the amount of pollution around the person
  • whether or not the pollution can disperse (topography and meteorology)
  • where the person works
  • how the person travels
  • where the person lives
  • how much time the person spends outdoors

The PAEHolmes report, Methodology for Valuing the Health Impacts of Changes in Particle Emissions (PDF 2.3MB) is available for download.

Air quality appraisal tool for transport and land use planning

The EPA engaged PAEHolmes to develop an Air Quality Appraisal Tool (XLS 1.6MB) (AQAT) to assist in placing a cost on the air quality impacts of transport and development. The AQAT is a spreadsheet that can be used to estimate annual emissions of particles and the damage costs associated with these emissions.

The associated Air Quality Appraisal Tool Report (PDF 2.3MB) is also available for download.

(From November 2012, PAEHolmes took on the branding of its parent company, Pacific Environment.)

Cost abatement curves for air emission reduction actions

The EPA engaged Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) to undertake a study to identify and analyse a range of air pollution emission abatement initiatives across the Greater Metropolitan Region (GMR) and subregions of NSW. SKM

  • developed a Marginal Abatement Cost Curve model to help assess the practicability of each identified initiative from a number of perspectives, including its economic, environmental and social impacts, and technical feasibility
  • explored the potential for this model to help identify programs that warrant further investigation and full cost benefit analysis

See:  Cost Abatement Curves for Air Emission Reduction actions (PDF 4.9MB).



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