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Key Guidance


Assessment of impacts on air quality and the impact of greenhouse gas emissions

Construction and operational activities of State significant projects can cause airborne particles like dust, dirt, soot and smoke, gases that cause air pollution, and emissions which may contribute to long-term changes in the pattern of weather. Consideration of these potential impacts is essential in the assessment of State significant projects to prevent reductions in air quality that cause health and other problems.

Air Quality

Air quality is a central part of environmental assessment requirements for State significant projects. Pressures on future air quality include population growth, urbanisation, industrial processes and increase in energy and additional transport demands.

The NSW Government has committed to a 10-year Clean Air for NSW Strategy that aims to improve air quality across the State. This includes initiatives relating to industry, transport, vehicles, fuels, household emissions, monitoring and forecasting air quality.

Air quality assessments should consider a range of legislation and guidance material to reduce and manage the potential for air pollution and exposure to the natural environment and the community.

National environment protection (ambient air quality) measure

This is a national framework to consistently measure and monitor Australia’s ambient (outdoor) air quality.

View the Framework

Updated approved methods document for sampling and analysing air pollutants

The updated approved methods document for sampling and analysing air pollutants in NSW has now been published and is relevant for any air monitoring required by a NSW EPA licence or statutory notice.  The air document(s) replace the respective 2007 version previously in place.

The document was finalised taking into account feedback received during consultation on the draft. The document and supporting information including key changes, implementation and transitional arrangements, response to submissions and frequently asked questions are located here:

The document improves clarity and guidance on what the EPA currently requires, reflect the most up to date analytical methods and remove unnecessary requirements.  Ambient air monitoring methods are no longer included in the air approved methods but exist on EPA’s website here instead.  As is currently the case for air, licensees must ensure that the laboratories and consultants they use to carry out their statutory obligations comply with the Approved Methods.

The document applies now and any reference to previous versions of the documents in licences and statutory instruments will be taken to be a reference to the newly gazetted versions.  However, the previous versions of the approved methods will apply where they are specifically referenced in previously issued Secretary’s environmental assessment requirements. Detailed implementation and transitional arrangements are available on the EPA’s website here.

Approved methods for modelling and assessment of air pollutants in NSW (and related guidance)

This document lists the statutory methods for modelling and assessing emissions of air pollutants from stationary sources in NSW.

View the Approved Methods

In tunnel air quality (nitrogen dioxide) policy

This policy sets the requirements for nitrogen dioxide concentrations and monitoring equipment in all new tunnels over 1 km in length.

View the Policy

Greenhouse gases

The majority of NSW greenhouse gas emissions come from the extraction, processing and burning of fossil fuels. Most of emissions are in the form of carbon dioxide, with methane emissions the next largest form of emissions.

Assessment of State significant projects should encourage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions where possible in accordance with the NSW Government’s long-term objectives of greenhouse gas reduction.

NSW climate change policy framework

The framework outlines NSW’s long-term objectives to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and to make the State more resilient to a changing climate.

View the Framework

National greenhouse accounts factors

This is a reference document for companies and individuals to estimate greenhouse gas emissions.

View the Document

Last updated: 13/07/2023