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
- wood heaters (Part 2) – wood smoke is a significant source of particle pollution in parts of NSW
- fires (Part 3) - including open burning and bushfires
- motor vehicles and fuels (Part 4)
- industry (Part 5).
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.
- Approved methods for the modelling and assessment of air pollutants in NSW lists statutory methods for modelling and assessing air pollutants from non-moving sources such as chimneys and industrial machinery.
- Approved methods for the sampling and analysis of air pollutants in NSW lists statutory methods for sampling and analysing air pollutants from non-moving sources, motor vehicles and petrol.