To protect and preserve Canberra’s important ecosystems and waterways during land development and construction, the ACT Government has strengthened the Environment Protection Guidelines for Construction and Land Development in the ACT.
For the first time, the guidelines introduce a risk-based framework for erosion and sediment control. This creates a preventative approach to minimise pollutants entering waterways at development and construction sites.
“These guidelines will minimise environmental risks associated with land development and construction work,” Minister for the Environment, Rebecca Vassarotti said. “They will aid developers, builders, and anyone else who may be carrying out civil construction and building works to complete their developments in a way that is environmentally conscientious.
“We know that erosion and sediment control is a key risk involved in land development and construction work here in the ACT. The guidelines include updated sediment basin requirements to address the increased frequency and intensity of rainfall events associated with climate change.
“Other environmental issues identified within the updated guidelines include noise and air emissions, waste management, land contamination, biodiversity and climate change
“I encourage every member of the building and construction industry to familiarise themselves with the new updates included within the guidelines. With renewed focus and direction, we can reduce the environmental risks associated with important development work in our community.”
The Environment Protection Authority’s Environment Protection Guidelines for Construction and Land Development have been providing guidance and practical advice to builders and land developers on their legal obligations to protect the environment since 1986.
In 2019, industry stakeholders were given the opportunity to provide valuable input as to what they want to see in the updated guidelines, to ensure that their implementation happens on every relevant building site and is practical and effective.
Minister for Business and Better Regulation Tara Cheyne said the updated guidelines will improve the EPA’s capacity to prevent sedimentation from building sites to better protect our waterways and broader environment.
“Sedimentation can cause millions of dollars in environmental damage and can impact our sensitive ecosystem and wildlife that call the ACT home. To minimise this risk, the EPA are working proactively with industry to prevent pollution from environmentally high-risk sites,” said Minister Cheyne.
“The EPA will work with industry and businesses to help interpret the updated guidelines and answer any questions regarding the new changes. It is always preferable to prevent issues from arising rather than responding after an incident has occurred, and we will continue to support the sector to achieve this.
“The protection of our environment is critical to the community’s health and wellbeing. Our most recent budget included funding for additional Environment Protection Officers to provide further support for compliance monitoring and regulatory oversight activities.”
The new guidelines, along with a supporting factsheet on the key updates are available on the Access Canberra website.