Pollution & Waste - EDO NSW

Pollution & Waste

EDO NSW has produced a number of resources on pollution and waste

EDO NSW undertakes law reform work relevant to pollution and waste. Read our submissions below.

EDO NSW represents individuals and community groups in public interest litigation to protect the environment. Read about our past cases on pollution.

Our Fact Sheets on this topic include enforcement, evidence collecting and environmental investigations, water, air and noise pollution, waste management, and chemicals and pesticides.

See current opportunities for law reform in this area at Have Your Say about decisions relevant to pollution and waste.


Reducing emissions from the transport sector – EDOs of Australia submission

March 2017 - Download PDF

This is a submission to the Commonwealth Government on three proposals to improve harmful emissions from the transport sector: Better Fuel for Cleaner Air; Improving light vehicle efficiency; and Improving noxious emissions standards for light and heavy vehicles. 

We continue to support the adoption of stringent vehicle emissions and fuel quality standards. The Australian community deserves the environmental, public health and cost-of-living benefits of these improved standards. 

Our key recommendations are:

  • Fuel quality standards: EDOs of Australia supports  option D in the Government’s Discussion Paper.
  • Light vehicle efficiency (greenhouse gas): The target with the greatest emissions and fuel savings for vehicle owners (target A) should be chosen .  Earlier commencement and more stringent standards should also be considered.
  • Heavy vehicle efficiency standards: should also be considered (they are not addressed in the government’s proposals).
  • Noxious emissions standards: European standards should be adopted (option 6) to achieve the best health and environmental benefits.  
  • Other federal, state and local government measures are needed to reduce transport sector’s significant and growing greenhouse emissions.
  • The Fuel Tax Credit Scheme for diesel should also be independently reviewed on environmental, public health and budgetary grounds.
  • Future reviews to ensure continuous improvement are needed in legislation and policy, beginning well before 2025.

Link to this submission's page.

Clean Air for NSW Consultation Paper – EDO NSW submission

January 2017 - Download PDF

The NSW Government released a Consultation Paper – Clean Air for NSW in 2016. Drawing on the extensive legal and technical analysis and advice we have undertaken for our community clients on air quality over many years, this latest submission makes recommendations for improving air quality in relation to specific actions and timeframes, integrating air quality into planning decisions, and monitoring and measuring air pollution.

Link to this submission's page.

Submission on the Review of the load-based licensing scheme – EDO NSW submission

January 2017 – Download PDF

This is a technical submission structured around the questions asked in the Issues Paper. In our submission, we focus on the role of an effective load-based licensing scheme, pollutants covered by the scheme, and ensuring fees for the scheme are set in a way that will drive pollution reduction.

We also note that there are currently few policies or programs in NSW that adequately regulate cumulative impacts, and many industrial discharges are permitted at levels that are known to be above safe levels for human or environmental health. As a result, the NSW pollution management system, including the load-based licensing scheme, still falls significantly short of ensuring appropriate environmental protection. This review provides an opportunity to address some of these concerns.

Link to this submission

Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Amendment (Container Deposit Scheme) Bill 2016

September 2016 – Download PDF

This EDO NSW submission makes brief comments on the NSW Government’s Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Amendment (Container Deposit Scheme) Bill 2016 and the associated Regulatory Framework Discussion Paper. EDO NSW has consistently argued that mandatory product stewardship should be enshrined in law. We therefore welcome the intent to introduce legislation to establish a container deposit scheme for NSW.

However, we note that several key details will be determined once the Bill is passed. We argue that the regulatory architecture must set clear targets, and ensure transparency and integrity of the new scheme. We recommend that sufficient time be allocated to comprehensively consult on the detail in the regulation and administrative guidelines.

View previous submissions on this issue, in particular EDOs of Australia submission on the threat of marine plastic pollution in Australia and Australian waters, October 2015.

See also How can we stem the tide of a plastic-polluted future?, by EDO NSW Senior Policy & Law Reform Solicitor Nari Sahukar, October 2015.

Draft Amendment to Protection of the Environment Operations Regulation (Scheduled Activities) 2016 - rail freight - EDO NSW submission

June 2016 – Download PDF

We support the intent to better regulate railway activities and assign responsibility for managing environmental and health impacts. However we have a number of concerns with the Amendment Regulation and provide recommendations for improvement, including:

  • Any new licences issued as a result of the Amendment Regulation must specify clear standards and timeframes for achieving emissions reduction targets.
  • Load-based fees should be applied for railway activities that emit pollutants including fine particulates and nitrogen oxides, to encourage continuous improvement.
  • The Amendment Regulation should be clarified to address issues which require “shared responsibility for environmental performance” (such as wheel squeal).
  • The minimum 30km track-length should be removed before a pollution licence is required for trains and railway infrastructure, to ensure all coal trains are properly regulated.

National Standard for Environmental Risk Management of Industrial Chemicals - EDOs of Australia submission

May 2016 – Download PDF

EDOs of Australia strongly supports the objective of these reforms to “achieve better protection of the environment through improved management of the environmental risks posed by industrial chemicals”. EDOA also supports objectives to improve transparency, consistency and efficiency in chemical risk management.

Our submission makes recommendations across three key areas of risk management in industrial chemicals: hazard characterisation; the outcomes based approach; and community engagement.

It’s important to note that this Discussion Paper is part of a broader effort to reform Australia’s regulation and management of potentially hazardous industrial chemicals. We recently made a submission to Consultation Paper 2 – Implementing reforms to the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS).

Implementing reforms to the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme - EDOs of Australia submission

March 2016 - Download PDF

Our submission responds to the Australian Government’s Consultation Paper 2 – Implementing reforms to the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS).

In our submission, we express concern that the consultation paper proposes to reduce both assessment and reporting requirements in the use of industrial chemicals. Any reduction in assessment requirements should be accompanied by improvements in notification and transparency in all phases of industrial and hazardous chemical management, and by the appropriate use of international standards. These measures would help ensure that the public is appropriately informed and that decision making can be subject to independent scrutiny.

EDO NSW submission on Draft Industrial Noise Guideline

13 November 2015 - Download PDF

EDO NSW is concerned that proposed changes to noise guidelines will allow for significant increases in noise impacts on rural communities and other communities that currently experience little background noise.

The community reasonably expects that the key regulator for noise in NSW will identify what constitutes unacceptable noise impacts, based on objective criteria, and that this information will also be considered in any project assessment process. We recommend that all projects should be required to assess and implement all reasonable and feasible noise mitigation. Noise mitigation should not only be required once noise exceeds industrial noise trigger levels. We support proposals by the Environmental Protection Authority to strengthen monitoring and compliance arrangements, but greater detail and more transparency is required.

EDOs of Australia submission on the threat of marine plastic pollution in Australia and Australian waters

9 October 2015 - Download PDF

In this submission EDOs of Australia calls for:

  • additional regulatory measures to reduce key sources of marine plastic pollution, based on best available evidence (e.g. further implementation of container deposit schemes and extending bans on single-use plastic bags);
  • better resourcing and implementation for pollution offences and infrastructure (internalising pollution costs through a polluter pays approach);
  • timely cooperation between state and federal governments, raising standards to a ‘highest common denominator’ approach to reducing plastic pollution (without delaying effective state efforts like the schemes mentioned above); and
  • reviewing the adequacy of oversight of fishing gear and garbage disposal at sea, and considering Australia’s capacity-building role on marine plastic pollution in the Asia-Pacific region.

Submission on Environmentally Hazardous Chemicals Act 1985 (NSW) review

21 August 2015 - Download PDF

This submission to the EPA focuses on areas to improve NSW hazardous chemicals law. EDO NSW supports the reduction of duplication in legislation as long as measures to achieve this reduction do not lower environmental standards. We also recognise the need to reflect changes in NSW pollution legislation and complement changes in federal chemical assessment laws.  However,  limitations with the federal NICNAS scheme suggest there is merit in retaining a NSW chemical assessment process to supplement NICNAS. The revised NSW Act should also aim to ensure ecologically sustainable development.

Read all our submissions, briefings and papers on pollution & waste

ANEDO submission to the National Clean Air Agreement

17 April 2015 - Download PDF

Submission on Draft Protection of the Environment operations Amendment (NSW Gas Plan) Regulation 2014

November 2014 - Download PDF

Submission on the Draft Variation to the National Environment
Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure

October 2014 Download PDF

Submission to Legislative Council inquiry into performance of NSW EPA

August 2014 - Download PDF

Submission on the Remake of the Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals (IFOAs)

April 2014 - Download PDF

Submission regarding the Agriculture and Veterinary Chemicals Legislation Amendment (Removing re-approval and re-registration) Bill 2013

7 March 2014 - Download PDF

Submission on risk-based pollution licensing and the Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Amendment (Licensing Fees) Regulation 2013

4 November 2013 - Download PDF

NSW Energy from Waste Draft Policy Statement for Public Consultation

May 2013 - Download PDF

Submission on the Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation 2010 

1 July 2010 - Download PDF

ANEDO Submission to the Senate Inquiry into the impacts on health of air quality in Australia

8 March 2013 - Download PDF

Submission on draft guidelines for the publication of monitoring data under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997

24 Feb 2012 - Download PDF

ANEDO Submission on the draft Government response to the Report of the Montara Commission of Inquiry 

25 February 2011 - Download PDF

Inquiry into the Kooragang Island Orica chemical leak

4 November 2011 - Download PDF

Draft Pesticides Regulation 2009

17 April 2009 - Download PDF

Review of the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Act 2001

22 June 2007 - Download PDF

Regulatory Impact Statement - Investigation of Options to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Plastic Bags

28 February 2007 - Download PDF

Submission on the National Chemicals Environmental Management (NChEM) Scheme

6th October 2006 - Download PDF

Submission on the National Pollutant Inventory NEPM Variation

15 September 2006 - Download PDF

Proposed amendment to POEO (Clean Air) Regulation 2002

February 2005 - Download PDF

Combined Environment Group Submission to National Packaging Covenant Council on Consultation Proposal for Strengthening the National Packaging Covenant

August 2004 - Download PDF

Review of the Contaminated Lands Act

August 2003 - Contact Us

Review of the Hazardous Chemicals Management Act

September 2003 - Contact Us

Protection of the Environment Operations Act Review

June 2003 - Contact Us

Submission to the Inquiry into Health Impacts of Air Pollution in the Sydney Basin

4 August 2006 - Download PDF

Submission on the Consultation Draft of the Protection of the Environment Operations Amendment Bill 2005

22nd July 2005 - Download PDF

discussion papers
briefing notes