At its meeting on 15 April 2021, the National Environment Protection Council (NEPC) agreed to vary the AAQ NEPM by approving an amending instrument to the AAQ NEPM. The amending instrument took effect on 18 May 2021, the day after it was registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments (FRLI).
In approving the amendments, the NEPC took into account the Impact Statement and information received during public consultation on this proposed variation. NEPC’s responses to the feedback received are available in the Summary of Submissions and Response document.
The amendment, taking into account the latest scientific evidence about the health impacts, includes:
- establish an O3 standard with an 8-hour averaging period that reflects the health evidence and its use internationally, with a numerical value of 65 ppb.
- significantly strengthen NO2 reporting standards for 1-hour and annual average NO2 to 80 ppb and 15 ppb respectively, bringing forward standards initially proposed for 2025. This will make them tighter than the World Health Organization guidelines. This reflects the most recent health evidence emerging about the health impacts of NO2.
- significantly strengthen SO2 reporting standards for 1-hour and 24-hour SO2 to 100 ppb and 20 ppb respectively to make them some of the tightest in the world. The 1-hour SO2 standard will be strengthened again in 2025 to 75 ppb.
- remove annual SO2 and 1-hour and 4-hour O3 averaging periods to align the standards with the recent health evidence and for consistency with many international agencies.
- change the form of the standards to the maximum value with no allowable exceedances providing the most transparency for reporting purposes.
- apply the existing exceptional events rule that applies to the particle standards to O3 given the linkages between elevated O3 levels and fire events. This rule is used by jurisdictions to determine compliance with the standards.
- extend annual reporting of population exposure from particles as PM2.5 to O3 and NO2 given the widespread exposure across whole populations.
Ambient Air Quality NEPM – FRLI
For further information regarding the amending instrument, including explanatory statement, visit: