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New EPA Laws That Affect Environmental Noise Assessments

on 01 Feb 2022 9:45 AM
Blog Category: Noise Blog

On the 1 July 2021, new laws gave the Victorian Environment Protection Authority (EPA) increased powers to prevent harm to public health and the environment from pollution and waste. Importantly, The General Environmental Duty (GED), a centrepiece of the new laws, is criminally enforceable.

Environmental Noise Assessments (ENAs) were previously bound by the State Environmental Protection Policy (SEPP) No. N-1 (Commercial, Industry and Trade within Metropolitan Melbourne and regional urban hubs), No. N-2 (Music venues), and NIRV (Noise from Industry in Regional Victoria).

In July 2021, EPA Victoria released Publication 1826.4 – Noise limit and assessment protocol for the control of noise from commercial, industrial and trade premises and entertainment venues. This document is commonly called the Noise Protocol.

In addition to the release of the Noise Protocol, the EPA Regulations 2021 were released with Part 5.3 – Noise of the regulations used in conjunction with the Noise Protocol for conducting ENAs. 

The Environment Protection Act 2017 came into effect on 1 July 2021 with the General Environmental Duty (GED) at the centre of the Act. It means that if you are conducting activities that pose a risk to human health and the environment, that risk must be understood. 

Importantly reasonable and practicable steps to eliminate or minimise those risks can be legally enforced, regardless of whether compliance with applicable noise limits has been determined. In an Australian first, the GED is criminally enforceable.

Regulations That Have Changed

The following are now obsolete:

And have been superseded by:

The Environment Protection Act 2017, EPA Regulations 2021 and GED mean that the EPA can enforce actions to minimise noise regardless if the sites are at compliant noise levels or not.

Key Points

For most sites, ENAs will remain the same or similar. However, there are some changes you need to be aware of: 

Music Venues

Commercial, Industry and Trade Premises

What Does This Mean For You?

For most of you, things will remain the same and ENAs conducted prior to July 2021 will still remain valid. However, for some of you, further work may be required to bring your ENA up to current conditions. 
The need for follow up assessments will primarily be due to one of 2 reasons:

If you have any questions, please call 1 300 856 282 to speak to one of our Senior Acoustic Consultants. They can discuss the changes with you or answer any questions you might have.

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