EPA Separation Distance Guidelines

06 Mar 2008 questionsarchive

I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Urban Development and Planning a question about EPA separation distance guidelines.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Last year, the EPA released its separation distance guidelines, and its communication of November 2007 states: These G uidelines give a recommended separation distanc e for a range of new or expanding industries to ensure the environmental impact on neighbouring residential sites is minimised. They are used by the EPA , planning authorities, developers, planning consultants and the community in assessing development applications for new or expanding development. The guidelines state: The use of separation distances is not an alternative to compliance by industry with its statutory obligations , but rather is an aid in locating industry and sensitive land uses to minimise the impact s of noise, odour , polluting air emissions or waste water. My questions are:

1. Is there any statutory obligation for industry and developers to comply with these guidelines?

2. What actions is Planning SA taking to ensure that councils, industries, etc., as outlined in the document, are complying with them?

Thursday 11 September 2008

In reply to the Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (6 March 2008).

The Hon. P. HOLLOWAY (Minister for Mineral Resources Development, Minister for Urban Development and Planning, Minister for Small Business): The Minister for Environment and Conservation has provided the following information to Question 1:

1. There is no statutory obligation for industry and developers to comply with the Environment Protection Authority’s 2007 Guidelines for Separation Distances. However, if industry and developers are looking for sites to locate new industries that have the potential to cause noise and/or air pollution complaints, they are encouraged to use these guidelines as a means of reviewing the suitability of potential sites. Sites that have separation distances less than those recommended in the guidelines may be suitable but are likely to require higher levels of technology, design measures and ongoing management practices to avoid causing public complaints.

2. The EPA’s Guidelines for Separation Distances released in December 2007 are, according to the document, intended for the use of the EPA, planning authorities, developers, planning consultants and the community as a tool in the development application process for new and expanding development.

Better Development Plan (BDP) modules and other planning policies provide general objectives and principles that seek to minimise impacts between incompatible land uses and activities. While the document states that Planning Authorities are encouraged to use the guidelines when preparing Development Plan Amendments (DPAs) as one method of addressing potential conflicts between incompatible land uses, it recognises that separation buffers are only one method of addressing potential land use conflicts.

I note that the EPA separation guidelines are advisory only and are not intended to be mandatory. They are also not retrospective and can not be used to force existing industries to relocate.

I consider the EPA’s separation guidelines to be a useful reference tool and am advised that Planning SA continues to discuss with the EPA the application of the separation distances as part of the ongoing process of updating the BDP Planning Policy Library.