Environment Protection Authority cracks down on polluting trucks

Smoky trucks in NSW face on-the-spot fines of $2,000.

Environment Protection Authority cracks down on polluting trucks
New South Wales' Environment Protection Authority is taking a zero tolerance approach to smoky trucks.


New South Wales authorities have claimed a record fine for a polluting vehicle in the M5 tunnel, and it appears the offender has repeatedly skimped on maintenance.

NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) only gave the firm’s holding company name, Tizzana Investments, rather than its operating name.

It has been a busy month in the transport sector for the state’s EPA, with a transporter fined for waste tyre offences and the authority being involved in a blitz on dangerous goods.

Tizzana was fined $10,000 plus prosecutor’s costs of $750.

"This truck had already been fined three times for emitting excessive smoke in the M5 tunnel," EPA reform and compliance director David Fowler says, adding the "appalling track record" led to the prosecution.

"This is the largest fine for smoky vehicles in the M5 tunnel to date and should serve as a warning to all heavy vehicle operators on our roads."

The EPA and Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) operate the M5 East Heavy Vehicle Emission Reduction Program.

The program aims to improve air quality in the M5 East tunnel by improving compliance through increased penalties as well as offering vehicle owners financial assistance to install partial diesel particulate filters.

"Operators of smoky vehicles face on-the-spot fines issued by the EPA of $2,000, with repeat offenders attracting even tougher penalties," the authority says.

"As this case illustrates, if the matter is prosecuted in court, the fine can be a lot higher.

"The maximum penalty that a court can impose for this offence is $44,000."

Last week, it was revealed waste transporter Allen Reid was fined $7,500 for moving waste tyres to a rural property in North Sackville that the EPA says was known as an unlicensed site and a further $750 for not complying with an EPA notice to provide information.

It observed Reid collecting the waste tyres for a fee from tyre retailers in western Sydney, but instead of disposing of them at licensed waste facilities it took them to the unlicensed bush property where more than 30,000 tyres were being stored.

Reid was issued with a notice to provide information about his activities but failed to respond.

"This particular transporter had already been warned once by the EPA that the North Sackville site was unlicensed but he chose to do the wrong thing again so this time we have taken tougher action," EPA waste and resource recovery director Steve Beaman says.

"We are still examining the extent of the operation and part of our ongoing investigations will be to determine the level of involvement of the tyre retailers and whether other retailers have used the same transporter.

"The EPA is warning tyre retailers that they must get written details from companies removing their tyres on where they are being taken and then check that those tyres actually arrive at the intended destination. 

"If tyre retailers do not do this they may face regulatory action. The EPA will be randomly checking this compliance and there are no excuses.

"Excessive tyre stockpiles are not only illegal but can also pose a serious fire risk and environmental hazard that could be harmful to the environment and community."

Regulatory changes will make it harder for the illegal transport and stockpiling of waste tyres, with new requirements around waste tracking and the waste levy system for stockpiles more than 12 months old.

At the start of the month, EPA and NSW Police undertook a joint campaign to inspect vehicles transporting dangerous goods in and around Newcastle.


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