The Environment Protection Policy (Air Quality) 2004, referred to as the Air Quality Policy, has been developed to help regulatory authorities and industry maintain and improve Tasmania's air quality.
The provisions of the Air Quality Policy are not directly enforceable. They are to be implemented by State and Local Government regulatory authorities when developing legislation and policies or undertaking regulation that is relevant to air quality.
The provisions of the
Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (EMPCA), the
Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 and the
Local Government Act 1993 may be used to implement the Air Quality Policy.
The Air Quality Policy also provides guidance for environmental managers and consultants in the relevant industries.
Regulatory authorities should ensure that all reasonable and practical measures are taken to avoid or minimise air emissions from industry. This may include Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 activities as defined in EMPCA and existing uses.
The measures that should be used, in order of priority, are:
- recovery of energy
Where air emissions are unavoidable, accepted modern technology should be used to minimise these emissions. This means that is has a demonstrated capacity to meet the desired emission concentration
in a cost-effective manner, takes account of cost-effective engineering and
scientific developments, and pursues opportunities for waste minimisation.
In-stack Guidelines and Monitoring
New industries or existing industries undergoing major upgrades are expected to use accepted modern technology to reduce air emissions. Guidelines for in-stack emission concentrations that would normally be achievable are specified in Schedule 1 of the Air Quality Policy.
Regulatory authorities should ensure that significant industrial sources of air pollution in existence at the time the Air Quality Policy came into force progressively reduce their emissions. The timeframe for compliance will have regard to the environmental risk, economic cost and practicability of reducing emissions.
Regulatory authorities should, where appropriate, ensure that air emissions and their effects are monitored. This is to evaluate whether emissions are being managed in accordance with the Air Quality Policy. Monitoring should be conducted in accordance with protocols approved by the Director, EPA.
Air Pollution Dispersion Modelling
Existing or new industrial sources of air pollution that might cause serious or material environmental harm or environmental nuisance should be required to undertake air pollution dispersion modelling. For new or upgraded sources this modelling is carried out during the planning approval process. For existing sources, modelling may occur when emissions are likely to be excessive, for example when public complaints are received.
See Schedule 2 of the Air Quality Policy for the design criteria of ground level air quality requirements of pollutant concentrations.
Modelling should be conducted in accordance with a methodology approved by the Director, EPA.
Airsheds are areas defined by natural or topographic features affecting air quality.
To keep a reserve capacity for airsheds, no activity should be permitted to emit pollutants in a manner that, allowing for other reasonable emissions to the relevant airshed, would breach the National Environmental Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure 2003 (Air NEPM). Regulatory authorities need to ensure that modelling takes this into account, where relevant.
If a regulatory authority is satisfied that odour from an activity is causing, or is likely to cause, environmental harm or environmental nuisance, the authority should require odour emissions at or beyond the boundary not to exceed the odour criteria specified in Schedule 3 of the Air Quality Policy.
Level 1 Activities
Dispersion modelling and monitoring are unlikely to be required for most Level 1 activities. Nonetheless, there may be particular cases, such as a Level 1 activity in an area with compromised air quality, where dispersion modelling and/or monitoring are justified. The EPA can provide advice to Local Government on the appropriateness and type of modelling and monitoring that should be undertaken.
Regulatory authorities should manage and regulate diffuse sources of air pollution that have the potential to cause serious or material environmental harm or an environmental nuisance in a way that will protect the environmental values of the Air Quality Policy.
Planned burning includes vegetation burning for fuel reduction, ecological management and forest regeneration, but does not include back-burning to control wildfires.
Persons and organisations undertaking planned burning should use best practice environmental management to minimise the effects of smoke and must take account of health and amenity impacts. This includes, but is not limited to, complying with State Fire Management Council guidelines.
Where practicable, organisations undertaking planned burning on a regular basis or on a large scale should:
- adopt air quality monitoring programs
- adopt a uniform approach to recording and assessing complaints
- focus on minimising the impact of smoke on the community
- encourage the planning and execution of planned burning in a way that minimises smoke generation
- require that persons responsible for planned burning be competent in relevant burning procedures