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In September, Katestone hosted a series of events to help our clients understand the proposed changes to the Ambient Air Quality National Environment Protection Measure (AAQ NEPM) air quality standards. Participants heard the background and rationale for change, how the changes might impact on their businesses and how they might make a submission. The events were well attended and a good opportunity for clients to draw on our wealth of knowledge and experience.

The Ambient Air Quality NEPM (AAQ NEPM) establishes national ambient air quality standards and a national framework for the monitoring and reporting of six common air pollutants, including airborne particles. The 2011 review of the AAQ NEPM provided recommendations in relation to the standards for particles, including revising the standards to take into account new evidence around the health effects of air pollution.

On 29 April 2014, Environment Ministers signalled their intent to vary the Ambient Air Quality NEPM based on the latest scientific understanding of the health risks arising from airborne particle pollution.

The AAQ NEPM is an important document and the proposed variation will set the agenda for managing and regulating particulate emissions for governments, industry and the community for many years to come.

Consequently, Katestone was keen to ensure our clients, colleagues and partners were informed about the proposal and its potential implications.

On 9 September 2014, Katestone hosted a breakfast seminar at which Roger Bluett – lead for National Air Projects of the NSW Environment Protection Authority – provided details of the proposed variation to the AAQ NEPM. Roger provided a detailed outline of the Impact Statement that evaluates the environmental, social and economic costs and benefits of meeting the proposed standards for airborne particles.

On 24 September 2014, Katestone hosted a workshop for seminar attendees where the potential implications of the proposed NEPM standards were identified and discussed.

We hope that the seminar and workshop assisted participants to make submissions on the variation to the AAQ NEPM.

Submissions closed on 10 October 2014. At the conclusion of the Public Consultation period a summary of submissions will be prepared that considers all responses to the questionnaire, written submissions and any other feedback received during the consultation process. This will inform the National Environment Protection Council (NEPC) in the development and consideration of a final proposal for varying the Ambient Air Quality NEPM in relation to the standards for particles.

The summary report of submissions will be published on the NEPC website.