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7. Reduced licensing thresholds for waste activities


12 New NSW Protection of the Environment Operations Waste Regulations. 

   

Written by

Jessica Baldwin
Arie van der Ley

under the supervision of
Maureen Peatman

 

 

Current operators should be aware of reduced licensing thresholds for waste activities in NSW from 1 November 2014. When any threshold under Schedule 1 of the POEO Act is met, the activity is considered a 'scheduled activity' and an Environment Protection Licence (EPL) is required. Reduced licensing thresholds will mean some current waste operators may now require an EPL to continue their operations.  If an EPL is now required as a result of the changes, occupiers of waste facilities have a 9 month transition period to apply for an EPL.

REDUCED LICENSING THRESHOLDS FOR SCHEDULED WASTE ACTIVITIES

Under the 2014 Regulations the threshold requirements for non-thermal waste processing, recovery and storage of general waste have been be reduced and brought in line with one another. The amendment reduces the quantity of general waste that can be processed, recovered or stored onsite without an EPL.

From 1 November 2014 waste facilities located within the regulated area will require an EPL that:

  • Process through non-thermal treatment more than 6,000 tonnes of general waste a year or have on site at any time more than 1,000 tonnes or 1,000 cubic metres of general waste
  • If recovery facilities process more than 6,000 tonnes of general waste per year or have on site at any time more than 1,000 tonnes or 1,000 cubic metres of general waste
  • If storage facilities receive more than 6,000 tonnes of general waste per year or have on site at any time more than 1,000 tonnes or 1,000 cubic metres of general waste.

From 1 November 2014 waste facilities located outside the regulated area will require an EPL that:

  • Process through non-thermal treatment more than 12,000 tonnes of general waste a year or have on site at any time more than 2,500 tonnes or 2,500 cubic metres of general waste
  • If recovery facilities process more than 12,000 tonnes of general waste per year or have on site at any time more than 2,500 tonnes or 2,500 cubic metres of general waste
  • If storage facilities receive more than 12,000 tonnes of general waste per year or have on site at any time more than 2,500 tonnes or 2,500 cubic metres of general waste.

Further, the threshold for recovery, non-thermal processing and storage of waste tyres has been reduced to 5 tonnes or 500 waste tyres on site or processing 5,000 tonnes of waste tyres per year, dramatically reduced from the previous amount.

A threshold of 60 tonnes of drilling mud has also been added to the definition of waste storage in clause (42)(3)(b).

ADDITIONAL WASTE ACTIVITIES TARGETED BY THE EPA

The licensing thresholds have been reduced in response to the environmental risk posed by previously unregulated waste activities. The EPA aims to mitigate those risks, by extending and strengthening its regulatory capacity.

In its consultation process for the new regulations, the EPA received submissions from major waste associations complaining of the poor operations of small, previously unregulated waste facilities. Conversely, local council indicated that too much of a reduction in the thresholds may limit the viability of some of their waste operations and other small waste operators. The new thresholds were formed in response, and aim at creating a "level playing field" across the industry.

Further reading about the 12 areas of staged change to the NSW protection of the Environment Operations Waste Regulations: Click here

 

CONTACTS

NATIONAL

NSW

Maureen Peatman, Sydney
Ian Miller, North Ryde
Anton Dunhill, Melbourne
Tony Raunic, Melbourne
Rick Harley, Adelaide
Antony Logan, Hobart

Maureen Peatman
Hasti Kalarostaghi

Disclaimer: The information contained in this e-alert/update is not advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Hunt & Hunt recommends that if you have a matter that is legal, or has legal implications, you consult with your legal adviser.

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