Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Environmental Issues

Air - NSW overview

Costs and benefits of air pollution controls

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) uses economic analyses and economic tools to inform the development of environmental regulations and policies. Estimates of costs and benefits provide stakeholders with important information during consultation on proposals being considered by the EPA. Particular techniques can be used to estimate the costs and benefits associated with air pollution controls.

Methodology for valuing the health impacts of changes in particle emissions

The EPA engaged PAEHolmes to develop a methodology that accounts for health impacts associated with changes in particle emissions and adjusts for the variation in those impacts across populations. The methodology is intended for use in economic cost benefit analyses to inform air quality management.

Total health impacts of air pollution relate to the level of ambient air pollution and how many people are exposed. Individual exposure to outdoor air pollution may depend on many factors including:

  • the amount of pollution around the person
  • whether or not the pollution can disperse (topography and meteorology)
  • where the person works
  • how the person travels
  • where the person lives and
  • how much time the person spends outdoors.

The methodology proposes a way to value the health impacts of one tonne of particle emissions in Australian towns and cities. The methodology uses population density reflecting that smaller towns usually have lower population density and more space for particle emissions to disperse.

The PAEHolmes report, Methodology for Valuing the Health Impacts of Changes in Particle Emissions (HealthPartEmiss.pdf, 2.3MB) is available for download.

Air quality appraisal tool for transport and land use planning (AQAT)

The EPA engaged PAEHolmes to develop an air quality appraisal tool (AQAT) to assist in placing a monetary value on the air quality impacts of transport and land use developments. The AQAT is a spreadsheet tool that can be used to estimate annual emissions of particles and the damage costs associated with these emissions.

The Air Quality Appraisal Tool Report (AQATRrpt.pdf, 2.3MB) and the Air Quality Appraisal Tool (AQAT.xls, 1.6MB) are available for download.

As of 1 November 2012, PAEHolmes took on the branding of its parent company, Pacific Environment.

Cost abatement curves for air emission reduction actions

Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) was engaged to undertake a study to identify and analyse a range of emission abatement initiatives across the Greater Metropolitan Region (GMR) and subregions of NSW. SKM developed a Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (MACC) model to assist in assessing the practicability of each identified initiative from a number of perspectives including economic, environmental and social impacts as well as technical feasibility. The SKM study explored the potential for this tool to help identify programs that warrant further investigation and full cost benefit analysis.

SKM's final report, Cost Abatement Curves for Air Emission Reduction actions (CostCurveAirEmissionRedn.pdf, 4.9MB) is available for download.

Page last updated: 10 March 2014