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What powers do councils have to deal with environmental nuisance issues?
The Local Government Act 1999, Public and Environmental Health Act 1987 and Development Act 1993 give councils the power to deal with a number of activities arising from domestic, retail/commercial and industrial premises that may cause environmental nuisance.
An authorised officer has wide-ranging powers in connection with the administration and enforcement of the EP Act where they may require any person to comply with reasonable measures to protect the environment.
Authorised officers appointed by a council for the purposes of the EP Act may only exercise power as an authorised officer within the area of their council; and are restricted from exercising power as an authorised officer in relation to:
- activities that fall within the scope of Schedule 1 of the EP Act (licensed activities)
- activities undertaken by the Crown, the council or another public authority or a prescribed person or body
- any other activities prescribed by regulation under the EP Act.
What can we do if our council doesn’t have an authorised officer?
Councils that do not have officers authorised under the EP Act still have powers to deal with a number of environmental issues as described in the legislation mentioned above.
If a council believes the EP Act may offer better legislative powers to resolve local environmental issues, council should contact the Sustainability & Local Government Support Branch for further advice and assistance.
If council’s authorised officers come across a situation they have not dealt with before, who can they contact for advice?
If a council-appointed authorised officer requires assistance in dealing with an environmental issue, they can contact the EPA for guidance and direction.
The council has been dealing with an environmental nuisance issue for a lengthy period of time, without resolution. What can we do?
If a council is unable to resolve an ongoing environmental issue, they can contact the EPA for assistance. The EPA can provide the council with advice on how to deal with the environmental issue or it can become the lead agency and manage the issue.
Alternatively, the council may seek advice from community mediation services.
The council has received a complaint regarding a business in the council area. How do we find out if the business concerned is licensed under the Environment Protection Act 1993?
Councils can contact the Sustainability & Local Government Support Branch directly on (08) 8204 2004, or via email if they wish to find out if particular premises are licensed under the EP Act.
A number of councils have access to the Complaints and Reports of Environmental Significance (CARES) database which identifies businesses that are licensed under the EP Act. Councils who wish to gain access to the database should contact the EPA.
Last modified: 24/07/2012 03:14 pm