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How the Air Quality EPP applies to Industry and Planned Burning

​​​​​​​Introduction

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 Policy was made on 13 December 2004 and came into effect on 1 June 2005.

Implementation

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.

Environmental Values

The environmental values to be protected under the Air Quality Policy are:

  • the life, health and well-being of humans
  • the life, health and well-being of other forms of life
  • visual amenity
  • the useful life and aesthetic appearance of buildings, property and materials

Scope

The Air Quality Policy contains:

  • specific provisions relating to industrial sources of pollution
  • specific provisions relating to odour
  • general provisions relating to diffuse sources (such as wood heaters, backyard burning and planned burning)
  • specific provisions relating to planned burning

Specific provisions relating to emissions from wood heaters and backyard burning are contained in the Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Smoke) Regulations 2019.

Industrial Emissions

General Principles

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 and existing uses.

The measures that should be used, in order of priority, are:

  • avoidance
  • reuse
  • recycling
  • recovery of energy
  • treatment
  • containment
  • disposal

Where air emissions are unavoidable, accepted modern technology should be used to minimise these emissions.

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. In the case of new or upgraded sources this is carried out to provide information for the planning approval process. For existing sources it may be appropriate to undertake modelling when it becomes evident that emissions are likely to be excessive, for example when public complaints are received.

Schedule 2 of the Air Quality Policy specifies design criteria for ground level air quality at relevant receptors.

Modelling should be conducted in accordance with a methodology approved by the Director, EPA.

Reserve Capacity

To retain 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 prejudice compliance with the Air NEPM. Regulatory authorities will need to ensure that modelling takes this into account where relevant.

Odour

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.  EPA Tasmania can provide advice to Local Government on the appropriateness of modelling and monitoring and the type of modelling and monitoring that should be undertaken.

Diffuse Sources

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

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

Definitions

Accepted modern technology

Technology that 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.

Air NEPM

National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure 2003

Airshed

An area defined by natural or topographic features affecting air quality.

Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 activities

A Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 activity as defined in EMPCA.

Planned burning

Planned burning includes vegetation burning for fuel reduction, ecological management and forest regeneration, but does not include back-burning to control wildfires.​

Environmental Policy and Support Services Section
EPA Tasmania, DPIPWE
134 Macquarie Street
Hobart TAS 7000
Phone: 03 6165 4599
Email: Enquiries@epa.tas.gov.au

The Environment Protection Authority acknowledges the Tasmanian Aboriginal people as the traditional custodians of lutruwita (Tasmania) and pays respect to their Elders, past and present.