Non-road spark ignition engines and equipment

Why are emissions associated with non-road spark ignition engines and equipment a problem?

Emissions from non-road spark ignition engines and equipment can be a significant source of air pollution in some urban air-sheds. These engines cover a wide range of petrol powered equipment, including:

  • Marine engines, such as outboard, in-board and stern-drive engines
  • Outdoor powered equipment (mainly garden equipment), such trimmers, brush cutters, leaf blowers, chain saws, chippers, cement mixers, pumps and generators.

Such engines and equipment are a significant source of pollution because they don't have the same advanced emission controls found in on road engines. They emit particulate matter at much higher rates and contribute to ground level ozone formation.

Particulate matter associated with air pollution has respiratory and cardiovascular health effects and was classified as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2013. Ozone formed at ground level is a pollutant that impairs lung formation and function, and is a key ingredient of smog.

Is there a national approach to minimising emissions from non-road engines?

In April 2014, Australian Environment Ministers agreed to work towards establishing a National Clean Air Agreement by 1 July 2016 to ensure that the community continues to enjoy clean air and address impacts on human health and the environment. Consistent with this approach, Ministers also requested the finalisation of a number of key existing projects aimed at improving air quality standards and reducing emissions, including a Decision Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) on options to reduce emissions from non-road spark ignition engines and equipment. Commonwealth, State and Territory governments are currently working to finalise the Decision RIS.