Allison has recently joined Applied Environment & Safety, adding her passion for environmental sustainability to the team. Allison enjoys using her extensive practical experience to collaborate with project teams to develop innovative environment and sustainability solutions.
Allison completed a Bachelor of Environmental Science in 2007 and has 15 years’ of experience working in environment and sustainability roles. She has worked throughout Australia in transport, power, renewables, water and mining sectors across project planning, design, construction, operations and maintenance.
Allison has diverse interests in compliance management and reporting, construction environmental management, infrastructure sustainability, environmental planning and approvals, and stakeholder management. Allison strives on combining sound technical advice with extensive environmental knowledge and understanding of legislation and policy to support project delivery that minimises impacts and provides benefits to the surrounding communities and environment.
Allison will be providing Applied Environment & Safety with senior environmental planning, compliance and management support for our upcoming power, transport and mining projects.
In her spare time, Allison strives to live sustainably by sourcing local produce, minimising food waste and keeping herbs and veggies in her garden alive. She will also take any opportunity she gets to tell anyone about her dog, a 10 yr old cattle dog cross called BB, who loves snoozing, barking at the postie and slow daily walks.
This article introduces the requirements of an Ecological Assessment in Queensland, which forms part of the development application process. We provide details on how we assist our clients through this process.
What is an Ecological Assessment?
The ecological assessment for developments in Queensland will vary according to the development approval pathway.
A small development, such as a residential development, is typically subject to the requirements of the local government planning scheme. The local Council will liaise with state government agencies as part of the assessment where State matters are triggered. Most local governments provide guidelines for ecological assessments to accompany development applications.
More complex developments may require submission to your local Council or maybe ‘called in’ by the State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) for assessment. Infrastructure projects, such as road, rail and energy infrastructure, are often subject to separate approvals processes and/or are exempt from some components of standard planning approvals processes.
For developments where matters of National Environmental Significance (MNES) are present, depending on the scale of impact, it may be necessary to refer the development to the Commonwealth government. MNES include threatened species; threatened ecological communities; lands, waters or species subject to international agreements or treaties, including migratory shorebirds; World Heritage Areas and Ramsar wetlands.
Why is ecological assessment critical?
An Ecological Assessment is part of the regulatory requirements for development applications in Queensland. An Ecological Assessment provides a means of identifying protected species or areas and determining the potential impacts of the development on these sensitivities.
How do you conduct an ecological assessment?
Qualified and experienced environmental professionals undertake Ecological Assessments. They are developed to include the relevant ecological information necessary for the development application. This will typically consist of the following:
– Description of the development
– Results of the ecological desktop assessments and field-based surveys
– An assessment of the impacts from the development on ecological values
– Recommendations to avoid or mitigate impacts of the development on ecological values
– Any further actions required
For a development application with minor disturbance, we assist our clients through the Ecological Assessment process through these steps:
– Undertake an onsite inspection of the proposed development and discussions about the works including clearing and other ground disturbance methodologies
– Inspection of disturbance area including vegetation to be cleared
– Development of Ecological Assessment Report with details from supporting reports such as arborist reports or flora and fauna surveys
– Development of management measures and offsets to minimise and mitigate the impacts from the proposed development
– Submission to local Council
– Follow up with the Council on the lodgement of the Ecological Assessment Report and respond to any questions including updating the Plan as required
As part of the Ecological Assessment, planning and design considerations are firstly considered to minimise potential environmental impacts. This may include minimising the disturbance area, avoiding areas with high biodiversity values, using existing cleared areas, and locating new infrastructure near existing infrastructure. Management measures are developed to minimise impacts including managing the vegetation clearing process.
How can Applied Environment & Safety Help?
Applied Environment & Safety has been assisting local clients with ecological assessments for their proposed developments against the Noosa Plan 2020: Biodiversity, Waterways and Wetlands Overlay Code. We have diverse experience in development applications and environmental impact assessment. This allows us to identify potential impacts and develop practical mitigation and management measures.
Google Review from our local client
– Jeff Sly –
“I highly recommend, Applied Environment & Safety, the service I received, was above and beyond, what I expected when I requested their expertise in this field. Melanie, and her team, provided a comprehensive Environmental report for the approval process to progress; we had numerous issues satisfying council requirements. Melanie worked through the issues meticulously, until approval was granted. Tanya and Jeff.”
Lachlan has recently joined Applied Environment & Safety, adding his passion for environmental sustainability to the team. He enjoys researching environmental issues and collaborating with teams to develop innovative environmental solutions.
A lifelong fascination with the natural world inspired Lachlan to pursue a career in environment management. Lachlan completed a Bachelor of Science (Wildlife and Conservation Biology) with a Distinction in 2018 and has commenced a Master of Environment at the University of Melbourne.
Lachlan has diverse interests in research related to climate change adaptation, sustainable land management, conservation and regeneration. Through taking courses at Universities in Australia, Austria and Denmark, he was able to explore a broad spectrum of academic research in environmental sciences, which has provided him with an interdisciplinary and global understanding of these fields. Experiencing alternative systems to environmental management spurred his interest in the field, driving him to undertake further coursework and a career in environmental management.
Over the past 5 years he has consolidated his practical knowledge through various field roles in environmental management, monitoring and regeneration. Working in the civil construction industry and NFP sector has allowed him to work closely with various stakeholders from the State and Federal Government to community groups. Taking an active role in small teams, he facilitated projects from inception and design to implementation.
In his spare time, Lachlan is a keen supporter of community environmental projects, notably waterways regeneration. Lachlan is also a keen trail runner and spends his weekends creating ceramics, his food garden and woodworking.
Key Components of a Site Environmental Management Plan (SEMP)
A Site Environmental Management Plan (SEMP) is a site-specific document identifying the environmental aspects of an activity; the potential impacts of the activity on these environmental aspect; and ways in which these impacts can be reduced through management strategies and site practices.
In simple terms, the main focus of a SEMP is the development of a plan that is specific to an activity and outlines:
– The activity to be undertaken
– Relevant environmental aspects
– Potential impacts of the activity on these aspects
– How these impacts will be managed through implementation and monitoring
Description of Activity
The SEMP should describe the activity to be undertaken. This should define the nature and scope of the activity and include the location, phases of work and timing/scheduling. The level of detail of the activity description should be sufficient to provide an understanding of each process and allow determination of the environmental potential impacts.
The SEMP should include a description of any relevant approval conditions and internal or client management requirements. The plan should distinguish between construction and operational activities, if relevant.
A site plan or drawing should also be included with the following:
– Location of work areas and access
– Environmental aspects such as waterways, native vegetation, residential housing etc
– Locations of environmental protection measures
The SEMP should identify the environmental aspects located within or surrounding the activity area. The types of environmental aspects that need to be considered may include the following:
– Erosion and sedimentation
– Water management including stormwater
– Dust and air quality management
– Noise and vibration
– Waste minimisation and management
– Hazardous materials storage and use
– Flora and fauna including weeds
– Indigenous and non-indigenous heritage
Potential Impacts on Environmental Aspects
It is important to understand the link between the activities and environmental aspects. An assessment should be undertaken to identify potential environmental impacts of the activity including the nature and extent of the impacts; short-term and long-term effects; and any uncertainties regarding the predicted impacts. This assessment requires two steps as detailed below.
Step 1: Identify the environmental aspects
The types of environmental aspects are listed above. There may be generic risks that relate to all of your activities, such as waste and chemical management, and then also site-specific aspects, such as surrounding vegetation, erosion and sediment and nearby houses.
Step 2: Undertake a risk assessment
Based on the environmental aspects, document the likelihood and consequence of impacts from the activity:
What is the likelihood that the aspect will impact the environment?
Certain = Will occur at a frequency greater than every week if preventative measures are not applied.
Likely = Will occur more than once or twice but less than weekly if preventative measures are not applied.
Unlikely = This might occur once or twice during the project if preventative measures are not applied.
Rare = Unlikely to occur during a project even if controls are missing.
How severe will the potential impact be?
Catastrophic = Significant damage or impact on the environment or community
Major = Major adverse environmental or social impacts
Moderate = Moderate undesirable environmental or social impacts
Minor = No or minimal adverse environmental or social impacts
The level of risk to an environmental aspect will determine the type and amount of mitigation and management measures that will be required. Where a significant risk to the environment has been identified, environmental protection measures must be introduced to reduce the risk to an acceptable level. Aspects with a medium or low risk should also have practicable management measures implemented if these can further reduce risk. The types of management measures are detailed in the next Section.
Managing Environmental Impacts
The types of measures that may be implemented for controlling potential impacts on environmental aspects may include:
– Water diversion structures
– Soil stabilisation measures
– Sediment retention structures
– Vehicle, machinery and equipment cleaning mechanisms
– Waste separation and containment
– Bunding and other spill prevention
– Flora and fauna protection mechanisms
– Archaeological/heritage protection mechanisms
Monitoring the Effectiveness of Environmental Controls
The SEMP should specify how the effectiveness of environmental controls will be monitored. It should include the methodology, frequency and duration of monitoring activities. It should include trigger values or conditions under which corrective actions will be taken. The plan should also specify if, and when, follow-up action is required and how monitoring records will be maintained.
An example of environmental monitoring is the implementation of a Weekly Environmental Inspection to check environmental controls throughout the activity. The trigger point would be non-compliance with any of the requirements in the Weekly Environmental Inspection Checklist. This would then require an assessment of the effectiveness of the controls and the potential implementation of additional or revised controls.
Further Information on Environmental Management Plans
Applied Environment & Safety has vast experience in the development and implementation of Site Environmental Management Plans. We supported our client in the development and implementation of site-specific management plans.
PCA Ground Engineering was engaged by the local Council to undertake a road embankment stabilisation project at Sunrise Beach, Noosa, Queensland. The works were vital to maintaining the long-term serviceability of the road and drainage infrastructure at this location.
We developed the Environmental Management Plan; Sediment and Erosion Control Plan; and Rehabilitation Plan. The environmental aspects of the project included:
– Erosion and sediment control
– Biosecurity management
– Waste management
We believe in using our expertise and knowledge improve project outcomes for our clients. We use our extensive construction knowledge to identify environmental risks and provide practical solutions.
Environmental plans and controls were effectively implemented during this project. We believe in working closely with our clients to build supportive relationships. By working together, we ensured environmental risks were mitigated during this project.
Building on our introduction to management systems, we have provided you with a simple and easy-to-follow Environmental Management System Checklist to determine your compliance against ISO 14001. We have also included a direct downloadable PDF version of the checklist to simplify your assessment process.
Have we determined internal and external issues that will impact on our environmental management system?
Have we determined what internal and external interested parties are relevant to the environmental management system and what are their requirements?
Have we determined the boundaries of the environmental management system and documented the scope?
LEADERSHIP AND COMMITMENT
Can we demonstrate top management is providing leadership and commitment to the environmental management system?
Do we have a documented environmental policy that is communicated and available?
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Are roles and responsibilities for environmental management documented?
RISKS AND OPPORTUNITIES
Have we determined the environmental risks and opportunities related to our organisation?
Do we have plans to address them? Have we maintained records?
Have we determined our environmental aspects and impacts, including any significant aspects and our criteria for determining this?
Do we have plans to address them? Have we maintained records?
Have we determined our compliance obligations and how they apply to us? Do we have plans to address them?
Have we maintained records?
Have we established environmental objectives?
Do we monitor, measure and communicate them?
Do we have plans to address them?
Have we maintained records?
Have we determined and ensured the necessary resources for the environmental management system?
Do we ensure the training and competence of personnel?
Do we maintain records?
Have we ensured that personnel are aware of our policy, significant aspects and processes relevant to them?
Have we determined processes for internal and external communication relevant to environmental management including staff, contractors, visitors, regulators and interested parties?
Have we maintained records?
CONTROL OF DOCUMENTS
Do we ensure documents and records are controlled?
OPERATIONAL PLANNING AND CONTROL
Have we established and maintained procedures to meet the requirements of the environmental management system?
Do we maintain control and influence over outsourced processes?
Consistent with a life cycle perspective do we consider environmental requirements in design processes and ensure impacts associated with transportation, use and end-of life treatment are controlled?
Do we maintain records?
Have we documented processes for emergency?
Are they tested and do we evaluate effectiveness? Do we maintain records?
NONCONFORMITY AND CORRECTIVE ACTION
Do we have processes for reporting, investigating and taking action to manage incidents and corrective action?
Do we maintain records?
Do we continually improve the environmental management system?
Applied Environment & Safety has been assisting local clients with ecological assessments for their proposed developments against the Noosa Plan 2020: Biodiversity, Waterways and Wetlands Overlay Code.
What is included in an ecological assessment?
In summary, assessment of the proposed development against Biodiversity Significance requirements under the Noosa Plan including:
– Biodiversity values which also includes Matters of State Environmental Significance (MSES) and Wildlife Habitat (endangered or vulnerable)
– Koala Habitat assessment against Koala Priority Areas and Core Koala Habitat Area.
As well as wetlands and waterways assessment in relation to riparian areas.
We assist our clients through the ecological assessment process in 6 steps:
1. Undertake an onsite inspection of the proposed development and discussions about the works including clearing methodology.
2. Inspection of disturbance area including vegetation to be cleared.
3. Development of Ecological Assessment Report with details from supporting reports such as Arborist Report.
4. Development of management measures and offsets to minimise and mitigate the impacts from the proposed development.
5. Submission to Noosa Council.
6. Follow up with Council on the lodgement of the Ecological Assessment Report and provide responses to any questions including updating the Plan as required.
For this type of development application, planning and design considerations are first developed to minimise potential environmental impacts. This may include minimising the disturbance area, avoiding areas with high biodiversity values, use of existing cleared areas, and locating new infrastructure near existing infrastructure.
Then management measures are implemented to minimise impacts during vegetation clearing. This may include clearly delineating vegetation to be removed and those not to be impacted onsite; pre-clearing inspections; and engaging a qualified arborist to carry out clearing works.
Applied Environment & Safety has diverse experience in construction works and environmental impact assessment. This allows us to identify potential impacts and develop practical mitigation and management measures.
Local Client Testimonial
“I highly recommend, Applied Environment & Safety, The service I received, was above and beyond, what I expected when I requested their expertise in this field. Melanie, and her team, provided a comprehensive Environmental report for the approval process to progress, we had numerous issues to satisfy council requirements. Melanie worked through the issues meticulously, until approval was granted.“
Does your project need an ecological assessment? Contact our team – we would be happy to help!
Applied Environment & Safety are proud to be awarded 3-Star Partnership with the CCIQ ecoBiz program again this year. For eight years, we have been active participants in the ecoBiz program and a recognised Star Partner. The ecoBiz program is focussed on sustainable business practices to reduce energy and water use, and minimise waste. Our business sustainability initiatives have been recognised through this program.
CCIQ ecoBiz is a free program, funded by the Queensland Government, that helps businesses save money through reducing energy, water and waste. ecoBiz has been a very successful program working with thousands of Queensland businesses.
Given that our business operates predominantly either from our home office or client locations, our ecoBiz assessment was completed on a qualitative assessment of energy, water and waste savings.
Our achievements for 2021-2022 in regards to energy, water and waste are:
Recertified as a Carbon Neutral business via Climate Active in July 2022
Less travel for work with new local clients and providing remote support
Set five year energy reduction targets – see below
Ongoing member of their local catchment group
Became volunteer for Noosa River Catchment group undertaking monthly water sampling
Approx. 30,000 cans and bottles recycled through container recycling program by our company and client initiatives
Ongoing use of reusable containers while travelling
We have been awarded 3-Star ecoBiz partnership through our energy, water and waste initiatives. Our assessment was based on our business practices and behaviours which demonstrate implementation of business sustainability, and minimisation of our environmental footprint.
Our sustainable business initiatives for 2021-2022 are:
Track additional travel related energy use such as hire cars and use of clients cars to offset in next Carbon Neutral assessment
Join and participate in Zero Emissions Noosa
Determine options for supporting other carbon neutral businesses
Ongoing member of local catchment group and volunteer for monthly water sampling
Up to $1,000 donation to support a water or catchment community group
Additional measures to reduce waste while travelling for work such as less takeaway
Research waste minimisation and management initiatives outside of Australia and promote through News Posts on website
We will keep you updated on the progress of these initiatives.
Tracking of our carbon offsets, container recycling and donations are reported on our website HERE.
Iina has recently joined Applied Environment & Safety adding her strong research skills and passion for sustainability to the team. She enjoys researching environmental issues and collaborating with teams to create innovative environmental solutions.
Iina completed a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture in 2001 and has continued her studies including an Advanced Diploma of Sustainable Building Design as well as commenced a Masters of Regional Planning by Research at the University of the Sunshine Coast.
Iina has diverse interests in research related to climate change adaptation, landscapes and social adaptation. She has explored how this may relate to the reintegration of traditional ecological knowledge and urban agriculture into peri-urban regions as well as consideration of social and environmental issues associated with small lot housing estates. She is also interested in the way older Australians maintain their housing resilience and self-care.
Over the past few months, Iina has been assisting Applied Environment & Safety with a diverse set of environmental and business planning projects. She has completed environment and safety audits to aid onsite personnel to manage their requirements in a streamlined way; completed compliance reviews leading to the drafting of new policies and procedures; supported clients with the provision of information about environmental licencing and regulatory requirements; and conducted ecological assessment project work.
In her spare time, she is a keen supporter of citizen science environmental projects. She believes that this is worth developing with younger generations to inspire social change for the good for the environment.
Earlier in the month, Applied Environment & Safety was invited to present as a showcase local business at the Biz to Net Zero business breakfast in Noosa, a net zero industry and innovation program.
The event was coordinated by CCIQ ecoBiz Leader’s Forum, Noosa Shire Council, and local business associations. More than 100 local business people keen to learn about how to achieve carbon neutrality in their business or to start the journey, attended this event.
The purpose of this event was to engage the local business community in practical carbon reduction and offset solutions to support them through the economic transition to a zero-carbon future, as a proactive response to climate change. The event was aimed to provide clarity around the benefits to business of reducing emissions, investing in offsets and promoting themselves as carbon neutral in the context of net zero.
Also a focus of the event was celebrating ecoBiz Partners by recognising and awarding them with Partnership Certificates. Applied Environment & Safety was awarded 3-Star Partnership again this year. We have been active participants in the ecoBiz program and a recognised Star Partner for over five years. Through this program, we have been implementing sustainable business practices based on reducing energy and water use, and waste minimisation.
Melanie Dixon, Director of Applied Environment & Safety, was a guest speaker at the event. Melanie spoke about when starting her business over eight years ago it was important to her that the company led by example. So she reached out to ecoBiz and together we have been implementing sustainable business practices since 2015. Then in 2020, we started the process to become carbon neutral.
So What is Next?
Applied Environment & Safety have just set our carbon emissions reduction strategy for the next five years which includes changing to electric vehicles and supporting other carbon neutral businesses. See below.
We are working on building our local client base as well as encouraging our clients to allow us to provide remote support. These both assist in reducing our travel and associated energy use. We are also looking for further opportunities to support our local community and environment through volunteering. Melanie has just become a WaterWatch volunteer, participating in monthly water sampling, as part of Noosa Integrated Catchment Association.
We really believe that every person and every business can make a difference. You don’t need to be a big organisation, or spend a lot of money, there are sustainable options, sustainable choices for everyone and every business.
If you need some advice about your carbon neural journey feel free to contact us with your questions and queries.
Environmental Management for Road Construction and Civil Earthworks
Road construction and civil earthworks, including demolition, bulk earthworks and maintenance works, are likely to have environmental impacts. These environmental impacts may include clearing of native vegetation; discharge of sediment or water into nearby stormwater drains or waterways; emissions of noise, dust, or odours that cause nuisance or potential health impacts; the escape of litter; or excavation or importation of unsuitable fill materials.
All of these potential impacts should be considered prior to construction and an effective plan developed to manage impacts on the environment, and other nearby sensitive receivers.
What are the Environmental Requirements?
Environmental laws and regulations relevant to your road or civil construction project will be depend on the type of works, the location and potential sensitive receivers. In Australia, federal, state and local governments jointly administer environmental protection laws.
During planning for your road construction or civil earthworks project, a legislative review should be undertaken to determine:
1. Implications of the proposed project in relation to Commonwealth, State and local laws
2. Non-statutory approvals requirements such as the Queensland Government Koala Conservation Policy as well as self-assessable guidelines and codes
3. Other obligations required for compliance with legislation such as standards
4. The potential for environmental offsets triggered by the project.
Approval for a construction or civil works project issued by the relevant authority, such as local council or state government, can have conditions relating to the minimisation of environmental harm and local nuisance. A common condition is the requirement to prepare a Construction Environmental Management Plan or CEMP.
What is a Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP)?
A CEMP describes how construction activities will be managed to avoid or minimise environmental impacts. As well as how environmental management requirements will be implemented. A CEMP should be prepared when there is a risk that construction activities could cause environmental harm or environmental nuisance.
What is the Purpose of a CEMP?
A CEMP describes how the construction activities will be managed to avoid or mitigate environmental or nuisance impacts, and how those environmental management requirements will be implemented.
What is the Content of a CEMP?
A CEMP needs to contain sufficient information to demonstrate that the potential impacts on the environment and surrounding community have been identified, and suitable measures to mitigate those impacts will be applied prior to and during construction.
A CEMP should include the following general information about the project:
– Description of the location and receiving environment including sensitive receivers
– Description of the construction works to be undertaken
– Identification and analysis of potential environmental impacts
– Identification and description of the management measures to be implemented to mitigate linked source−receptor−exposure pathways
– Identification of a person or persons with responsibility for implementing the control measures
The CEMP could also include information on any higher-level environmental management systems, work procedures, document control, corrective action and review procedures. For more information refer to our Environmental Management Plan article. Or, download our key components of an Environmental Management Plan here.
To prevent or minimise environmental impact, it is important to understand the link between construction activities and the potential for these activities to impact on the environment.
Construction Activities and Environmental Impacts
The types of environmental aspects that need to be considered may include:
– Flora and fauna
– Erosion and sedimentation
– Water quality including groundwater
– Air quality
– Indigenous and non-indigenous heritage
– Noise and vibration
– Hazardous materials
Examples of the potential environmental impacts from construction activities on these environmental aspects are summarised in the table below.
Environmental management measures to be implemented during construction will depend on the nature of the site activities, and the sensitivity of the project area and surrounding land or water environment. For example, excavations resulting in steep slopes are likely to lead to soil erosion and water quality problems downstream and will require the installation of erosion protection measures.
Why Your Civil or Road Construction Project Needs to Comply
Environmental compliance means conforming with relevant environmental laws, regulations, standards and other requirements. The importance of being compliant with your environmental requirements isn’t just about being green, it is essential to ensuring the success of your construction project by limiting your exposure to regulatory and public scrutiny; ensuring compliance with contractual and best practice requirements; as well as identifying opportunities for improvement.
An environmental audit can be used to investigate the compliance of your project and/or the extent of your environmental liability. An environmental audit evaluates the compliance of management systems and plans with regulations, internal policies or other compliance drivers. Assurance through auditing verification and reporting programs can be used to identify gaps and limitations as well as allocate ownership and accountability to the process of implementing environmental compliance for your project.
Applied Environment & Safety provided environmental support to Hazell Bros during their road construction project. This 8.1 million project involved intersection upgrades and safety widening works on the Bruce Highway located between Gympie and Maryborough in southeast Queensland.
Our role in this local project included environmental audits and inspections during construction. At the commencement of construction, an audit was undertaken to ensure compliance with the requirements in the CEMP. Then monthly inspections were undertaken to ensure ongoing compliance. This included inspection of sediment and erosion controls, waste and water management, and hazardous substance storage and use. Short reports were developed following the inspections for submission to the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
We believe in using our expertise and knowledge to add value and improve project outcomes for our clients. We used our extensive construction knowledge to identify environmental risks and provide practical solutions. Contact us.
In this article, we cover the topic of environmental compliance in Australia. In our industry we often refer to compliance; compliance with regulatory requirements, compliance with client or stakeholder requirements, compliance with industry best practice, and compliance with environmental management systems.
But what does environmental compliance actually mean, why should you be concerned with it and what does it entail? This article sets out to answer these questions for you.
What is Environmental Compliance?
Compliance is defined as ‘conformity in fulfilling official requirements’. That is exactly what environmental compliance means; conformity in fulfilling environmental requirements. It is the adherence to all relevant environmental laws, regulations, standards and other requirements that apply to your organisation’s activities, services and products.
The importance of being environmentally compliant isn’t just about being green. It is essential to ensure the success of your operations by limiting your exposure to penalties and public scrutiny. Furthermore, identifying opportunities for improvement.
What is the Purpose of Environmental Compliance?
One of the most straightforward arguments for environmental compliance is that you have to do it; either it is the law, your approval conditions or your contract requirements. Government agencies enforce regulations and failure to meet their regulatory requirements can lead to fines/prosecutions which can be costly.
However, there are other reasons that should encourage you to adhere to environmental compliance:
– Promoting environmental compliance and best practice can attract new customers who want to buy products and services from an environmentally friendly business.
– Reducing the environmental impact of your business will improve the sustainability of your operations for longer term success.
– Promoting your employees to take an interest in your operations and environmental compliance. Failing to do so could negatively impact on the business as a whole.
Environmental laws and regulations relevant to your organisation will depend on your operations and location. In Australia, the Commonwealth, States/Territories and Local governments jointly administer environmental protection laws.
In Queensland, you and your business have a legal duty to meet general environmental protection obligations. This applies to all businesses and citizens. The Environmental Protection Act 1994 lists obligations and offences to prevent environmental harm, nuisances and contamination.
Environmental Compliance Assessment
An assessment of your environmental compliance with relevant legislation can be complicated. We have put together an environmental compliance assessment checklist below to assist you with considering your compliance obligations.
An environmental compliance audit can be used to assess your compliance as discussed in the section below.
We would recommend engaging Applied Environment & Safety to undertake an assessment of your compliance with relevant environmental requirements. Examples of compliance assessments that we undertaken are detailed below.
Compliance Through an Environment Audit
An environmental audit can be used to investigate the compliance status your operations and/or extent of your liability. This process is a systematic evaluation focusing on current operations and management procedures and processes. Assurance through auditing verification and reporting programs can be used to identify gaps and limitations.
An environmental audit can help to assess the nature and extent of your current impacts on the environment and compliance with regulatory requirements. This will enable you to:
– Identify how you could reduce your impact
– Prioritise environmental management activities
– Demonstrate your accountability to the government, customers and shareholders.
Environmental Compliance Australia Examples
Hereunder are some practical examples of how environmental compliance is applied to a number of different industry sectors that we service.
Power & Transmission
Applied Environment & Safety provided environmental support in the early contractor involvement (ECI) stage of the ElectraNet Eyre Peninsular transmission line upgrade project. This project involved constructing a new 270 km transmission line from Cultana to Port Lincoln in South Australia, as well as major construction works on substations.
Specific environmental management sub-plans were developed to ensure compliance with legislation, project-specific approvals and client contract specifications. This included soil, water, vegetation, waste, landholder and cultural heritage sub-plans.
Permit applications were also developed to ensure compliance with South Australian legislation. This included Water Affecting Activities Permits for the construction of waterway crossings.
Onshore Oil & Gas
Applied Environment & Safety regularly provides health, safety and environmental management support to Buru Energy. Buru Energy is an onshore oil and gas company based in Western Australia.
Recently we were engaged by Buru Energy to undertake an audit of their Health, Safety and Environmental Management System against relevant legislation. This included undertaking a review and gap analysis of their current management system documents. An audit report with recommendations to ensure compliance was developed following the audit.
Roads & Transports
Applied Environment & Safety, provided environmental compliance support to Hazell Bros during the construction of the Bruce Highway upgrade project located between Gympie and Maryborough in southeast Queensland.
At the commencement of construction, an audit was undertaken to ensure compliance with the requirements in the Environmental Management Plan. Then monthly inspections were undertaken to ensure ongoing compliance. This included inspection of sediment and erosion controls, waste and water management, and hazardous substance storage and use. Short reports were developed following the inspections for submission to the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
If you have any further questions or queries about environmental compliance or your project needs an environmental compliance audit, contact us.
Applied Environment & Safety have been nominated for the Noosa Biosphere Awards 2021. We believe in leading by example and promoting environmental sustainability. This is demonstrated through our commitment within our business as well as seeking continuous improvement for our clients.
Applied Environment & Safety are based in Noosa on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. Noosa is recognised globally for its outstanding biodiversity values and rich cultural history.
About the Noose Biosphere Awards
The Noosa Biosphere Awards celebrates the individuals, businesses and organisations implementing local solutions to the global challenges of sustainable development and addressing climate change. The Awards recognise people who are making a difference in the community and are championing environmental and sustainability excellence.
In 2007, the Noosa Shire was awarded Biosphere Reserve status under the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme in recognition of the ongoing efforts of the community to manage Noosa’s land, waters and wildlife sustainably while maintaining a balance between people and nature. The Noosa Biosphere is one of only four recognised UNESCO biosphere reserves in Australia and is part of a network of more than 700 sites worldwide.
Our nomination for the awards are linked to our company values and business goals which are to promote environmental sustainability both within our company and for our clients.
Our Company Values
Our company values are making a difference through profit, people and place.
Profit: Sustainable company that adds value to our clients leading to positive environmental and safety cultures
People: Provide opportunities both within our company and to our wider community
Place: Respect the environment and community of the locations of our projects and our business practices
Our Business Goals
We have set business goals to align with our company values as well as the UN Sustainable Development Goals in particular:
– Promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth
– Responsible consumption and production
– Climate action
Our business goals are detailed below.
Build a Local Client Base
Following our carbon emissions reduction goal, we are focussing on building our local client base. Over the past five years, we have built a successful small business based on environmental consulting for large construction projects across Australia. Although this has been successful for us, we want to sustainably grow our business and provide more benefits to our local region, therefore we are focused on building on local opportunities.
Through building a local client base, we are seeking to provide opportunities for local, sustainable employment and collaborations. In particular, we are focused on employment diversity to suit different work-life circumstances, such as university students completing studies and return to work parents. We currently employ part-time and casual workers to ensure inclusive opportunities for local employment.
Lead by Example
Although we are a small company, we believe that by leading by example and promoting environmental sustainability we are not only ensuring the long-term viability of our business, we are also setting an example for sustainable economic growth for other small businesses in our region and broader.
We will continue on our journey and seek new opportunities for using environmental science to safeguard natural ecosystems through the projects we support for our clients. As well as promoting innovative approaches to economic development through our business practices to enhance the relationship between our people and our environment for our biosphere and wider.
Want to learn more about who we are and our core companies values, click here.
Noose Biosphere awards winners will be announced Tuesday, 2 November at the Noosa Biosphere Gala.