An agreement on national emissions standards and measures for non-road engines is ahead of schedule and an announcement could be made to industry within three months, Australia’s Environment Minister says.

The Outdoor Power Equipment Association (OPEA), in welcoming the announcement, said the news was an exciting development for members.

“It has been a long road to this juncture. To be implementing emissions standards in our industry is fantastic for Australia and finally puts us on an equal international footing,” OPEA President Gareth Taylor said.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt said the Federal Government, in consultation with states and territories, was finalising a Regulation Impact Statement on options to cut emissions from non-road engines and equipment.

It’s expected this would be included as part of the National Clean Air Agreement, Mr Hunt said, adding that measures could be implemented nationally as early as 1 July 2016.

As part of the national agreement, Australia will adopt new emissions standards and measures for all non-road engines, believed to contribute up to 10% of Australia’s air pollution. This would cover marine engines and all outdoor power equipment such as trimmers, brush cutters, chainsaws, grass cutting equipment and generators.

New Australian emissions standards will only apply to newly built and imported engines and will not affect existing engines already built, purchased or in stores for sale.

It will bring the industry into line with the United States, China and the EU. Mr Taylor added: “The announcement by Minister Hunt is a positive step forward and is hugely welcomed by the OPEA.”

In the coming months, the OPEA will provide information that will assist members in understanding the proposed changes to emissions standards and how they will impact their business.

Minister Hunt has also launched ‘Clean Air Champions’, an initiative recognising those in industry, the community and academia who educate and raise awareness of air quality standard issues through their own endeavours.

The winner of the first ‘Clean Air Champion’ award was Gary Fooks from Blue Sky Alliance.
(See Gary’s article in the current ‘PEA’ June-July 2015 Issue).

See the upcoming August-September 2015 issue for an in-depth analysis of the proposed standards.

In the meantime, further information on the National Clean Air Agreement can be found at http://www.environment.gov.au/protection/air-quality/national-clean-air-agreement