Friday, December 15, 2017

New pilot program to keep closer watch on pollution problems

David Lee August 17, 2017

GREATER Shepparton City Council residents can expect a closer eye on local pollution problems under a new program that will see Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) officers work even more closely with selected councils.

Under the $4.8M ‘Officers for the Protection of the Local Environment’ (OPLE) pilot program funded by the Victorian State Government, EPA officers will be assigned to 13 councils around the state which expressed their interest in participating, including Greater Shepparton City Council.

EPA north east manager, Emma Knights said the program was part of the EPA reforms and were aimed at providing more effective regulation of environmental issues.

“EPA will be able to build on the already excellent relationships it has with local councils and we already work closely together on many issues, but it’s expected that having a dedicated resource through OPLE will mean faster identification and resolution of local problems which is obviously good news for residents,” Emma said.

“The OPLE program is part of the overall EPA reforms which will see benefits for the whole Victorian community.

“OPLEs and Greater Shepparton City Council officers will respond to smaller-scale and lower risk waste and pollution complaints such as small to medium scale illegal dumping, litter, noise, dust and odour arising from smaller business and industry.

“Their duties will also include responding to complaints, information and education activities to support prevention of pollution, and proactive inspections of premises to support compliance.

“By taking a proactive, prevention based approach, we are able to work together to improve the overall condition of Victoria’s environment,” Emma said.