The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has
established the Newcastle Local Air Quality Monitoring Network
(Newcastle Network) amid community concerns about air pollution.
The Newcastle Network establishes a "polluter pays"
system under which environment protection licence holders will be
required to pay for the cost of monitoring air
The Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Amendment
(Newcastle Air Monitoring) Regulation 2015 (Amendment) was
published on 6 February 2015. As with the Upper Hunter Air Quality
Monitoring Network, the Amendment sets out the "polluter
pays" model that will fund the Newcastle Network established
by the EPA in August 2014. The Newcastle Network has been modelled
on the Upper Hunter Air Quality Monitoring Network which is funded
by industry and operated by OEH. See our Corrs In Brief on the
Upper Hunter Air Quality Monitoring Network
Under Part 9.3C of the Protection of the Environment Operations
Act 1997 (NSW) (POEO Act), the EPA is authorised to develop and
implement environmental monitoring programs which aim to monitor
the impact of activities on the environment and human health. The
Newcastle Network has been implemented under Part 9.3C of the POEO
Act as it is an environmental monitoring program which aims to
monitor regional air quality in the local government area
THE NEWCASTLE NETWORK
The Newcastle Network was established following studies by the
EPA and the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) and advice
from the NSW Health's Air Pollution Expert Advisory Committee.
These studies and advice were in response to community concerns
about the air quality in the LGA arising from the relative
proximity of industrial activities, such as coal loading and port
development activities, to the residential centre.
The Newcastle Network consists of three additional air quality
monitoring stations at Mayfield West, Stockton and Carrington which
will complement the existing ambient air quality monitoring
stations in Newcastle City, Wallsend and Beresfield. The additional
stations have been designed to specifically monitor the impacts of
cumulative industrial activities adjacent to the centre of
Newcastle and will continuously monitor sulphur dioxide, oxides of
nitrogen and particulate matter. In conjunction with existing air
quality stations in the LGA, the Newcastle Network will provide
access to publicly available real time data on air quality.
In summary, the Amendment includes provisions to:
require holders of environment protection licences (Licensees)
in the LGA to pay an annual levy towards the cost of monitoring air
calculate the amount payable for the levy in proportion to
their level of emissions of sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen and
require Licensees to provide the EPA with information about
allow persons authorised by the EPA to enter land owned or
occupied by Licensees for the purposes of monitoring; and
require the EPA to provide air quality data and publicly report
on the monitoring program.
The preferred method of calculating emissions is through
estimates provided by Licensees in accordance with methods approved
by the EPA. In the event that such data is unavailable, the EPA
will use data from:
the Air Emissions Inventory for the Greater Metropolitan
data from the National Pollutant Inventory; or
data collected by the EPA through other sources.
Emissions from commercial shipping or rail activities will also
be included in a Licensees total emission output for the purposes
of calculating the levy.
The Amendment is established under Chapter 5A of the Protection
of the Environment Operations (General) Regulation 2009 (NSW).
The Amendment forms part of the EPA's continued policy
reforms to inform the community in Newcastle about the air quality
of the region and to financially incentivise Licensees to reduce
Licensees who hold a licence that authorises a scheduled
activity under the POEO Act to be carried out at premises in the
Newcastle LGA will need to implement appropriate procedures to
ensure they are compliant with the new obligations and consult with
the EPA in order to determine the most effective method of
estimating their emissions. Additional levies may now also be
payable under existing environment protection licences. A copy of
the Amendment can be found
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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