The latest Who Cares about the Environment? survey in 2012 by the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) shows that air quality continues to be a key environmental issue in NSW. Although the indications are that air quality in NSW is currently generally good, two problems persist in the Greater Metropolitan Region (Sydney, the Illawarra and Lower Hunter) which is home to around 70 per cent of the NSW population: photochemical smog and particle pollution (brown haze). Particle pllution can also be a problem in some regional. More information on photochemical smog and particle pollution is available in Chapter 2 of NSW State of the Environment 2012.
More on air quality
Current Knowledge Reports: These reports present information on the current state of knowledge regarding aspects of air quality in NSW.
Fine particles: fine particles enter air from a wide range of industrial, transport and domestic sources. They can harm respiratory and circulatory health, especially in the young, the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions. For more information about fine particles and actions the NSW Government is taking to reduce their impacts, see Particulate matter (PM2.5).
Action for Air: The NSW Government's 25-year air quality management plan targets smog and particle pollution and covers all the major sources of air pollution in the Greater Metropolitan Region of Sydney, the illawarra and Lower Hunter.
Upper Hunter Air Quality Monitoring Network: In October 2009 the NSW Government, in partnership with the Upper Hunter coal and power industries, announced the establishment of an air monitoring network in Upper Hunter Valley.
Clean Air Forums: These public forums are convened every three years to encourage public input on air quality trends and strategies.
Approved Methods for the Modelling and Assessment of Air Pollutants in NSW (August 2005): This document lists the statutory methods that are to be used to model and assess emissions of air pollutants from stationary sources in NSW. It is referred to in Part 5: Air impurities from emitted activities and plant of the Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation 2010 and includes procedures for developing site-specific emission limits for hydrogen sulfide as specified in clause 42 of the Regulation. This document may also be referred to in conditions attached to statutory instruments, such as licences or notices issued under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997; and DECCW Director General's requirements under Part 4 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
Approved Methods for the Sampling and Analysis of Air Pollutants in NSW (January 2007): This document lists the statutory methods that are to be used to sample and analyse air pollutant emissions from stationary sources (including continuous monitoring); pollutant emissions from motor vehicles; components in, and properties of, petroleum products; and pollutants in ambient air. It is referred to in Part 4: Motor vehicles and motor vehicle fuels and Part 5: Air impurities from emitted activities and plant in the Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation 2010; and the Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Regulation 2009. It may also be referred to in conditions attached to statutory instruments such as licences or notices issued under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997.
Guidance Note: Assessment of non-standard fuels (nonstandardfuel05149.pdf; 36 KB) explains how OEH assesses applications for the use of non-standard fuels. The agency recognises that the use of non-standard fuels can benefit the environment and the community, for example by reducing greenhouse gas emissions that would otherwise be generated from standard fuels such as coal, reducing reliance on non-renewable and virgin fuels, and offering a value-adding opportunity for materials that may otherwise be sent to landfill. However, burning some materials may have adverse environmental impacts. The document aims to encourage the beneficial use of non-standard fuels while ensuring there are no unacceptable impacts on human health or the environment.
Air Pollution Economics: Health costs in the Greater Sydney Metropolitan Region (airpollution05623.pdf; 212 KB) estimates the cost to health of ambient air pollution in the GMR, which includes Sydney, the Illawarra and lower Hunter. This information has been prepared to assist decision-making on proposals that have the potential to affect the GMR's air quality.
Page last updated: 24 April 2013