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Stricter controls to address climate change in planning decisions

NSW Environment Protection Authority 2 mins read

Climate change will be at the forefront of the NSW planning process to help meet the state’s net zero targets, under new requirements and guidance released today for public feedback.

For the first time, proponents of large-emitting projects must provide robust and consistent information about their potential greenhouse gas emissions, to align with net zero targets and legislation to better inform planning decisions.

This includes developments heavily reliant on fossil fuels and non-renewable electricity, or that have the potential to release large quantities of methane gas, such as coal mines, landfills, chemical manufacturers, cement and metal producers, and waste management facilities.

The draft EPA Climate Change Assessment Requirements and draft Greenhouse Gas Assessment Guide for Large Emitters released today will ensure the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), the NSW Government, and consent authorities have accurate information to inform their assessment and decision-making.

NSW EPA Chief Executive Officer, Tony Chappel said these stricter controls provide transparency and certainty for industry as we transition to net zero.

“These draft changes are a significant step forward to ensure greenhouse gas emissions are consistently addressed in the planning system, and when determining large-emitting projects,” Mr Chappel said.

“It is an essential part of our work to guarantee industry makes a meaningful contribution to put us back on track and help us achieve our 2050 net-zero targets.

“It also fulfils calls for clearer support on what’s expected and will set a new standard for climate action in future major projects across NSW.”

Applicants must address the following in their Environmental Impact Assessments:
- Methods for calculating the expected emissions;
- Identifying measures to avoid or reduce emissions and set reduction goals;
- Aligning with NSW and Commonwealth climate change legislation;
- Demonstrating a hierarchy of actions to avoid, reduce or substitute emissions, before using offsets;
- Measures to monitor and report on emissions.

If approved, large-emitting projects will be regulated and enforced through consent conditions and the NSW EPA’s Environment Protection Licences.

To have your say on the draft assessment requirements and guide until 1 July 2024, visit

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