Environmental assessment tool

As part of its Business Environmental Assessment Project, the City of Belmont has recently developed a new Geographic Information System (GIS)-based tool for assessing local businessesí environmental practices.

By using a tablet computer, assessors can now enter information directly into the Cityís GIS system, which council anticipates will deliver significant advantages over previous paper-based and electronic assessment methods.

The Business Environmental Assessment Project aims to help businesses improve their environmental performance, with a focus on reducing the risk of pollutants entering the environment and ensuring compliance with relevant legislation, chiefly the Environmental Protection (Unauthorised Discharges) Regulations 2004.

Council staff regularly visit relevant business premises to conduct onsite risk assessments. 

Following each assessment, a tailored feedback letter is sent to the business operator.

The project arose from the Cityís participation in the Perth Region Natural Resource Managementís (NRM) Light Industry Risk Assessment Project.

The City of Belmont received funding to participate in the NRMís project from 2006 to 2008 and has decided to continue the program after its initial success.

The new assessment tool has been designed in-house by the City, and has two main components: Business Finder, a GIS layer that maps the location of each business; and a linked assessment database for managing details about each premise, including past assessments.

The software is still in its trial stage, however as it has been developed using software commonly used in local government, Council is looking forward to a time when it can share it as a model for other local government authorities.