19 March, 2012

New report lays out bold agenda for stronger pollution control in New South Wales

The Clearing the Air report launched today sets out a clear agenda for legislative and operational reform aimed at restoring public faith in NSW's pollution control system.

Prepared by the Environmental Defender's Office at the request of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW, the report places pollution control under the microscope, with a view to identifying opportunities for strengthening the current system to better protect public health and the natural environment.

"Each year, industrial facilities across NSW release hundreds of millions of kilograms of pollution into our air, water and soil. The legislative reforms announced following the Orica incident are a step in the right direction, but bold action is needed to reduce pollution of our air, water and soil,” Nature Conservation Council of NSW CEO, Pepe Clarke said today.

"The Clearing the Air report identifies more than 30 opportunities to apply proven regulatory tools and mechanisms for reducing pollution breaches and restoring public confidence in pollution regulation in NSW.

"Regulation of pollution in NSW must move from granting permission to pollute, to a limit based approach that prevents or minimises environmental harm arising from industrial activities.

"We all have the right to know about the health and environmental effects of pollution. Information about pollution risks should be made more accessible to the public, through a transparent and open system of pollution control.

"The NSW government can make our pollution control system more open and transparent by involving local residents in pollution audits, creating and promoting user-friendly information tools and inviting public comment for all renewals and variations of pollution licences.

Clearing the Air sets out a clear agenda for strengthening our pollution control system, in line with community expectations of a safe, healthy environment.

"We welcome the opportunity to contribute to public dialogue on this important issue, and look forward to discussing the findings and recommendations of the report with policy makers and legislators," Mr Clarke said.


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