Kingston and EPA join forces to tackle local pollution
Kingston locals will benefit from reduced response times to pollution reports thanks to a pilot project between Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) and Kingston City Council.
The pilot sees EPA-authorised officers, known as Officers for the Protection of the Local Environment (OPLE), embedded within councils to respond to issues of noise, dust, odour and waste management arising from small to medium size businesses. The officers also equip communities and industry with the knowledge and skills to help prevent, identify and resolve environmental issues.
The pilot, which began in 2017 with 11 OPLEs across 13 council areas, will be expanded to include a further 8 OPLES across 10 councils, including Kingston, thanks to $3.4 million from the Victorian Government.
Recruiting is currently underway for the new OPLEs, who will hit the ground running early next year after completing their training.
City of Kingston Mayor Georgina Oxley is looking forward to participating in this important pilot project. “By working closely together the EPA and Council can be more responsive to our community and quickly respond to local pollution incidents to minimise any impact on the environment,” Cr Oxley said.
“This pilot project will lead to better outcomes for Kingston residents and businesses and we’re proud to take part.”
EPA CEO Dr Cathy Wilkinson welcomed Kingston City Council to the pilot program. “We’re excited to be expanding our presence in Melbourne’s south east and seeing the improvements from the first phase, including reduced response times to reports and improved industry compliance, replicated and built on in this second phase,” she said.
“As well as responding to issues such as dust, noise and odour, which have the potential to greatly affect liveability, the OPLEs will also be a valuable part of EPA’s increased focus on preventing and identifying illegal stockpiling and disposal of waste.
“We’re committed to being closely connected with the communities we serve and empowering and encouraging them to assist us to prevent harm from pollution and waste.”
The pilot is currently funded until June 2020.