NSW Environmental Protection Authority acting chief environmental regulator Mark Gifford said the new publishing requirements would help to make industry more transparent and accountable for its impacts on the environment and surrounding community.
“These new requirements reflect a new era in environment protection and give communities more access to information about industries and their practices in NSW,” he said.
From July 1, all holders of environment protection licences under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 must publish monthly summaries of relevant pollution monitoring data that has been collected as a result of a condition of their licence.
“What this means is that any licensee with a public website must publish their monitoring results, including air and water pollution, and that data must be easy to interpret and be displayed prominently,” Gifford said.
”Now anyone concerned about environmental pollution in their community can go online and immediately find out what is being emitted and from where.”
Gifford said those licensees who did not have a website were still required by law to make available any relevant pollution monitoring data if it was requested in writing.
The pollution monitoring data requirements are part of a wider program of reform being introduced following the revitalisation of the EPA earlier this year.
The NSW government introduced changes to how pollution incidents were both reported and managed, with licensees required to immediately report any pollution incidents and prepare and implement pollution incident response management plans, having these in place by September 1, 2012.
Gifford said the agency was also working on providing more information to the community about the industries it regulated by expanding the amount of information made accessible to the public, via the EPA’s public register.
The POEO Public Register is an online searchable database which includes information on:
- Environment protection licences
- Prosecutions under the POEO Act
- Results of civil proceedings and licence review information.
”We are currently working on expanding and updating the register to include information on pollution reduction programs and penalty notices issued by the EPA as well as making it more user friendly," Gifford noted.
This article courtesy of BEN-Global.com