Environmental Management

Council is committed to responsible environmental management of the City of Burnie and its community with the strategic objective of providing an Environmentally Sustainable Community through the sound management, protection and development of the natural and built environment.

In accordance with this objective Burnie City Council is committed to:

  • Compliance with legislation and regulations
  • Continual improvement in environmental performance
  • Avoidance of environmental harm and minimisation of environmental impacts from Council activities
  • Conservation and/or improvement of resources such as water, soil, air and energy
  • Promotion of conservation of resources

Challenges for the future are likely to present in the form of emergencies and disasters, climate change, increased pressure on drinking water supplies and the intensity of urban development; all of which have a capacity to adversely affect the natural and built environment.  To this extent, Council will continue to use a risk assessment and management approach to:

  • Enhance the capacity of Council to respond to environmental health challenges from disasters
  • Provide standards, guidelines, regulations, legislation indicators and risk assessment tools
  • Anticipate and plan for the most critical public health issues arising from climate change
  • Ensure environmental standards developed in other sectors are effectively utilised so as to enhance human health.

Environmental Nuisances

As a community there are a number of environmental issues that can cause concern.  These sometimes involve noise associated with music, motor vehicles, machinery as well as heat pumps.  This can seriously disrupt peoples' lives, causing loss of sleep, interference to activities as well as emotional stress.

In Tasmania, the overarching legislation for environmental issues is the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (EMPCA). EMPCA defines an 'environmental nuisance' as:

  • The emission of a pollutant that unreasonably interferes with, or is likely to unreasonably interfere with, a person's enjoyment of the environment; and
  • Any emission specified in an environment protection policy to be an environmental nuisance.

Examples of environmental nuisances:

For detailed information regarding environmental nuisances please visit the Tasmanian Environment Protection Authority Division’s website or telephone Council on 64305700.


Noise

Noise in the community has a variety of sources of which power tools, trail bikes, industry, entertainment, lawn mowers, heat pumps and animals are the most common. The Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Noise) Regulations 2016 outlines what are permissible hours for certain types of noise sources under EMPCA and the and the approach undertaken to evaluate if a noise constitutes a nuisance.

Wood Heater Smoke

Smoke from a domestic wood heater is considered to be in breach of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Distributed Atmospheric Emissions) Regulations 2007 if the smoke is visible 10 metres or more from the chimney for at least 30 seconds at a time, as well as being generally visible for at least 10 minutes. Excessive smoke from wood heaters can be a major contributor to air pollution. Smoke can be a nuisance to your neighbours and contains pollutants that are known health hazards.

There are products on the market that help make wood heaters burn more efficiently and reduce the amount of pollution emitted. Having your flue swept annually will also ensure your flue is in good working order and free from build-up. Operating your wood heater correctly is the key to clean and efficient heating.

Smoke from poorly operated wood heaters can be reduced as much as 80% by following a few simple steps. These include:

  • Always burn with a flame
  • Never let the fire smoulder
  • Only using well-seasoned, dry fire wood
  • Don't shut your fire right down when you go to bed
  • Burn the fire on high for 20 minutes after adding wood
  • Checking heaters comply with relevant Australian Standards
  • Always keep the air vents open enough to keep some kind of flame

More information about effective wood heater operation can be found under 'Air Quality' on the EPA website.

The Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) provides more information on the potential health impacts of wood smoke exposure. The DHHS also provides public health alerts for air quality at sites around Tasmania using real time data. Alternatively, contact the Council's Environmental Health Department on 64305700.

Backyard Burning (Incinerators)

Tasmania has regulations that are aimed at improving air quality by placing controls on backyard burning.

The Environmental Management & Pollution Control (Distributed Atmospheric Emissions) Regulations 2007 cover backyard burning in the open and in incinerators.

State legislation bans backyard burning in the open or using an incinerator on blocks less than 2,000 square metres in area. Most residential house lots are between 600m2 and 1,200m2 so this restriction affects the majority of households in Hobart.

The legislation does not prevent fire hazard reduction burn-off on large properties but does prohibit the burning of rubbish, plastics and other hazardous substances. 

For further information please consult the Improving Air Quality - Regulations on Backyard Burning and the Improving Air Quality - Regulations on Wood Heater Emissions brochures issued by the Environmental Protection Authority.

The Regulations on Backyard Burning allow for infringement notices (or on-the-spot-fines) to be issued by Council officers to a person who commits an offence under the Regulations.

Alternative garden waste disposal options:

  • Private waste removal contractors
  • Home composting
  • Domestic worm farms
  • Compost bins
  • Waste mulching and chipping contractors

Asbestos

Enquiries relating to asbestos on your property or workplace should be referred to Worksafe Tasmania at www.worksafe.tas.gov.au

For information regarding Asbestos Safety and Removal from WorkSafe Tasmania: Safety subjects - Asbestos including a list of current Tasmanian Licensed removalists.

For useful information to enable householders to sensibly and safely manage the risks arising from any occasional encounters with asbestos materials in and around their homes read the DHH publication:  Asbestos: A guide for householders and the general public - 2013.

Litter and Illegal Dumping

In December 2007, new litter laws commenced in Tasmania.  The Litter Act 2007 introduced stronger and more flexible and enforceable anti-littering provisions to:

  • Prohibit and regulate the deposit of litter in the environment
  • Regulate distribution of materials that may become litter
  • Facilitate the removal of litter
  • Generally protect and enhance the quality of the natural and urban Tasmanian environments
  • Enhance Tasmania’s "clean and green" image

The Litter Act 2007 is primarily enforced through the service of infringement notices and litter abatement notices.  Prosecutions in court may also be initiated.  The intention is to encourage people to accept responsibility of disposing of litter appropriately and thus reduce litter and its impacts on our community.

Council officers are able to enforce the Litter Act 2007 with the exception of littering from cars.

For offences and penalties or further information regarding littering please see the Environment Protection Authority Division’s litter laws webpage.

To report a pollution and environmental incident: (eg Illegal Dumping)  Telephone: 1800 005 172

To report a Littering Offence:  Telephone: 1300 135 513 or lodge a report online.