Today’s announcement from the Meeting of State and Federal Environment Ministers gave the green light for non-road spark ignition (petrol) engine emissions standards. This will bring Australia in line with the USA who lead the world in emissions standards for small petrol equipment including lawn mowers, outboards, chain saws and generators.
The Ministers had made an “in principle” agreement at their last meeting, which started the ball rolling with a Working Group formed of industry, government and community representatives formed to advise how best to implement standards for Australia. That report is due before the end of December.
The timetable after December is up to the Minister and Parliament. But according to Gary Fooks, Chair of the Blue Sky Alliance and member of the Working Group “If we stick to the ambitious program set by Minister Hunt, that would see the Legislation introduced in the first half of 2016. The next tangible output the public will see should be and Exposure Draft of the Legislation: that should be here in early 2016.
The Working Group agreed that the introduction of standards should progress through the next steps as soon as possible. Their advice has included exemptions, phase-ins for certain engine categories and how to most efficiently monitor compliance across the industry.
Asked if that meant no more two stroke lawn mowers or outboards after July Gary was quick to point out “let’s be clear, these laws are not an attack on any one technology: we will still have quality hand held products like STIHL and Husqvarna chainsaws, and of course Direct Injection two stroke outboards like E-TEC, but yes, four strokes will be the more common engine type in future especially for lawn mowers and generators.”
Any phase in is likely to be limited. Existing dealer stock gets exempted as the laws should only apply to new imports. And of course no law will ban what the public already has in the garage.
David Heyes, Chairman of AMEC added “any phase in or broad exemption that Minister Hunt decided to allow won’t be extensive. Exemptions are generally only where there is no possible alternate and a phase in would be in terms of months which means industry needs to finalize their preparations.”
Some boat builders will need to upgrade hulls, perhaps widen the transom, to allow for heavier clean engines. The outboard weight chart that was updated in AS1799 Australian Boat building standard in 2009 will help here.
BMT Dealers need to do their homework too: they will be largely responsible for the Fuel System Evaporative Standard. That will mean low permeation hoses and fuel tanks, a carbon canister on the vent line and a fuel tank ullage or overflow tank. For more information, ask your BIA or AMEC. www.marinecouncil.org.au
EXTRACT OF MINISTERS’ STATEMENT
· Ministers agreed to introduce emission standards for new non-road spark ignition engines (such as garden equipment and marine outboard motors). Non-road spark ignition engines are a significant contributor to air pollution. The introduction of new standards will bring Australia into line with existing international standards, particularly those in North America. Ministers also noted that a working group of experts is on track to provide interim advice this year on implementing the standards, with the aim of introducing legislation into Federal Parliament in mid-2016.