Air legislation

For more information, also refer to the Environment Protection Act 1970.

State Environment Protection Policy (Ambient Air Quality)

SEPP (Ambient Air Quality) sets air quality objectives and goals for the whole State of Victoria. The SEPP adopts the requirements of the National Environment Protection Council (Ambient Air Quality) Measure (NEPM). This NEPM sets standards, goals, monitoring and reporting protocols for six common pollutants: carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), photochemical oxidants (as ozone), sulfur dioxide (SO2), lead and particles as PM10 and PM2.5. The SEPP also includes a separate objective for visibility reducing particles, which is not included in the NEPM.

This policy was gazetted as:

Two variations have been made to this policy:

A consolidated version of the State Environment Protection Policy (Ambient Air Quality) has been produced, incorporating the variation. This document has not been published in the Gazette but rather was produced to provide a single source of information to those wishing to read the policy. This is not an authorised version of the policy. View the consolidated policy (PDF 417KB).

State Environment Protection Policy (Air Quality Management)

This policy was gazetted as:

SEPP (Air Quality Management) establishes the framework for managing emissions into the air environment in Victoria from all sources of air pollutants, so that the air quality objectives outlined in SEPP (Ambient Air Quality) are met and we achieve the cleanest air possible, having regard to the economic and social development of Victoria. The management framework and attainment program for protection of the air environment contained in SEPP (Air Quality Management) address not only ambient (or regional) air quality, but also the management of particular sources (for example, industry, motor vehicles and open burning) and local air quality impacts, including air toxics, odorous pollutants, greenhouse gases and ozone depleting substances.

Protocols for Environmental Management (PEMs)

The Protocols for Environmental Management (PEMs) that are currently incorporated under SEPP (Air Quality Management) are:

Industrial Waste Management Policy (Protection of the Ozone Layer)

This policy aims to prevent depletion of stratospheric ozone by minimising the release into the atmosphere of ozone-depleting substances such as CFCs, halons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons and methyl bromide.

Waste Management Policy (Solid Fuel Heating)

This policy aims to improve air quality in Victoria and protect the environment, human health and amenity by reducing emissions from solid fuel heating.

Environment Protection (Vehicle Emissions) Regulations 2013

The Environment Protection (Vehicle Emissions) Regulations 2013 (PDF 671KB) are available online at the Victorian Law Today Library. Hard copies (paper) are available from the Information Victoria Bookshop.

The Regulations aim to minimise the negative impacts on Victorians and the environment of air and noise emissions from motor vehicles and the release of petrol vapours relating to the production of petrol. They prescribe vehicle air emission and noise standards for in-service vehicles (vehicles on the road, as opposed to unsold new vehicles) and prescribe measurement methods for noise (PDF 389KB; National Transport Commission website) and related noise test engine speeds.

The Regulations also set noise labelling requirements, general vehicle offences and offences for the production of petrol with excess vapour pressure.

The Regulations were remade in 2013 following a review by EPA and the Department of Environment and Primary Industries.

In accordance with the requirements of the Subordinate Legislation Act 1994 EPA published a regulatory impact statement (RIS) for public comment, which was assessed as adequate by the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission (VCEC). 

EPA has also prepared a response to comments that addresses the key issues raised in submissions.

What are the major changes in the Environment Protection (Vehicle Emissions) Regulations 2013 compared with the 2003 Regulations?

The major changes in the regulations are detailed below. Further detail about the specific changes can be found in the Regulatory impact statement – Environment Protection (Vehicle Emissions) Regulations 2013.

  • The regulations will no longer regulate emissions from heavy vehicles (large trucks). Heavy vehicles will continue to be regulated, but under a different law as the Council of Australian Governments agreed in 2009 to establish a single heavy vehicle regulator. The Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure has agreed that the Heavy Vehicle National Law will commence on 10 February 2014 in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.
  • A hydrocarbon (HC) emission standard for petrol passenger vehicles will be introduced (in addition to the existing carbon monoxide [CO] emission standard). These air emission standards are in addition to those adopted from the national law (such as the smoky vehicle rule and the diesel vehicle emission standards). EPA recognised a gap in the national law and proposes this approach to ensure capture of grossly polluting vehicles. CO and HC can contribute to adverse health and environmental impacts (including summertime haze and the formation of ozone). By including CO and HC standards in the regulations, EPA can better detect polluting vehicles that have been tampered with or poorly maintained. These vehicles contribute disproportionately to air pollution.
  • The latest in-service noise standard for newer motor vehicles (ADR83/00) will be included in line with the national law, which means that newer light motor vehicles (such as passenger vehicles and light commercial vehicles) can be tested against the appropriate noise level, based on their design.
  • Vapour pressure limits for ethanol-blended petrol will be set,in addition to the existing vapour pressure limits for petrol. This will ensure that release of petrol vapours from ethanol-blended petrol will be effectively and efficiently regulated, as petrol suppliers will no longer have to seek vapour pressure limit exemptions for ethanol-blended petrol.

Read more about vehicle emissions and air quality.


Page last updated on 1 Aug 2016