Ministers announce non-road engine emissions standards in 2016

Thursday’s (July 16) announcement by all Australian Environment Ministers confirms that  Australia will adopt emissions standards for non-road engines, including marine engines, mowers, brush cutters and generators. With the final green light to be announced at the next Environment Minister’s meeting later this year, the Ministers have established a working group to draft standards and legislation by the end of 2015 “with the aim of implementing standards in the first half of 2016”.

OPEA have been working on emission standards for several years and the key elements  of the proposed emissions standards have been on the table since 2010. The USA Standard has become the accepted world standard and that’s also the plan for Australia – for all non-road petrol engines up to 18kW (25Hp) . That means around half of the engines being sold today already comply.

The proposed standards also include changes to fuel systems to reduce evaporative pollutants.   Fuel systems will be more complex, with low permeation tanks and hoses, backflow valves and a carbon canister on the fuel vent for large equipment – like boats. This will bring larger boats in line with car standards. Smaller systems like lawn mowers will need low permeation fuel tanks and hoses, and a tethered fuel cap.

The exact timing of regulations are yet to be decided, but the statement makes it clear that they will start in less than 12 months. What the public owns now won’t be banned and dealer stock won’t be affected – although excessive stock piling could be restricted.

The USA started emissions standards sixteen years ago with major markets following including the European Union, Switzerland, Turkey, Japan, Canada and India. China introduced small engine emissions standards in 2011.

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt phoned into an OPEA Board meeting earlier this year and met with the Executive in June.

Ministers statement can be read here.