Atmosphere Theme Report

Australia State of the Environment Report 2001 (Theme Report)
Lead Author: Dr Peter Manins, Environmental Consulting and Research Unit, CSIRO Atmospheric Research, Authors
Published by CSIRO on behalf of the Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2001
ISBN 0 643 06746 9

Urban Air Quality (continued)

Indicators of policy response (continued)

Compliance with regulations [A Indicator 3.16]

Manton and Jasper (1998) suggest that the means for measuring compliance with regulations is to quantify prosecutions for failing to comply with regulations. Victoria, however, is the only State to publish information on environmental prosecutions. According to EPAV (1999e), of the 29 successful environmental prosecutions during 1999, only five related to pollution of the atmosphere, and all five related to odour.

In the statistics for Victoria on smoky vehicles (Table 23), it is noticeable that as official concern has diminished, public concern, as evidenced by the number of public complaints, has been rising. EPA has recently increased its efforts in this area by conducting smoky vehicle campaigns, and through a greater tendency to issue fines rather than just warning letters.

Table 23: Complaints related to smoky vehicles in Victoria
Date Official (police or EPA) complaints Public complaints
1997-1998 7 840 4 447 (pro-rata)
1998-1999 7 526 5 196
1999-2000 5 559 6 406

Source: Environment Protection Authority of Victoria.

According to the 1999 Annual report of the South Australian EPA, owners of vehicles observed by EPA officers to pollute are sent an advisory letter requesting that necessary engine repairs be undertaken. The program is run in cooperation with South Australian Police Department and The Department for Transport, Urban Planning and the Arts. EPA officers observed 467 vehicles in 1998 to 1999 (compared with 406 in 1997-1998), which included 245 diesel-fuelled vehicles and 222 petrol-fuelled vehicles. The owners of 48 petrol-fuelled vehicles and 106 diesels returned repair advice forms detailing vehicle undertaken.

During 2000, the Victorian EPA had a total of 296 licences on issue with an air discharge component. Between July 1996 and July 2000, there were five notices issued for contravention of licence conditions for air licences (1.7%). There were 35 pollution abatement notices issued in which the environment type specified is air. Altogether, there were 51 prosecutions for offences relating to air pollution.

In Tasmania, since the Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Infringement Notices) Regulations were proclaimed in 1996, and up to September 2000, 180 environmental infringement notices were issued by the police and by environmental control officers. Of these notices, 15 related to air pollution: nine related to air pollution from motor vehicles, two to open burning on Waste Disposal Sites, one to odour from a Waste Disposal Site, one to odour from a Sewage Treatment Plant, one to the open burning of plastic and one to permitting particulate fumes to the atmosphere.

Emissions limits for new vehicles are set by Commonwealth Legislation. Emission limits became progressively stricter in 1974, 1986 and 1997 (Table 24). The standard that presently applies to new cars using unleaded petrol is ADR37/01 which specifies emission limits in grams per kilometre. Starting in 2002, progressively tighter standards (ADR79) on new cars in harmony with European emissions standards will be introduced (Table 25).

Table 24: Comparison of Australian Design Rules (ADRs) for motor vehicle emissions and observed emissions for Melbourne
Emissions standard Year first introduced CO
(g per test)
ADR27 1974 24.2 1.9 2.1 6.0
ADR37/00 1986 9.3 1.93 0.93 2.0
ADR37/01 1997 2.1 0.63 0.26 2.0
Melbourne observations 1999 12.0 1.51 1.04 -

Source: Beer (1995), FORS (1996); Melbourne observations from EPAV (1998b, 1999d).

Table 25: Emission limits and timing for vehicles to meet Euro standards in Australia
Type of vehicle In force Carbon monoxide
Hydrocarbons (g/km) [exhaust] A Oxides of nitrogen (g/km) PM (g/km)
Passenger cars and light commercial
ADR37/01 (petrol) 1997-1999 2.1 0.26 0.63 NA
ADR79/01 (petrol, LPG, CNG) (Euro3) 2005-2006 2.3 0.2 0.15 0.05
ADR79/01 (diesel) (Euro4) 2006-2007 0.5 0.3 (NOx + HC) 0.25 0.025
Heavy duty diesel
ADR70/00 1995-1996 4.5 1.1 8.0 0.36
ADR79/01 (Euro4) 2006-2007 4.0 0.55 3.5 0.03

A HC [evaporative] 2 g/test.

Source: after 

Recognising that the ADR rules apply only to new vehicles, and that passenger vehicles have an average age of 10.4 years, about 10% of the fleet is replaced each year with ADR37/01 vehicles. Then, using the petrol consumption data shown in Figure 85, it can be shown that, on average, motor vehicles in Melbourne comply with the Australian Design Rules.