- Environmental Risk Management Authority
The Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) is a
New Zealandgovernment agency which controls the introduction of hazardous substances and new organisms.
ERMA is principally responsible for implementing the
Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act1996 (HSNO).
The aim of ERMA is stated as::"Achieve effective prevention or management of risks to the environment, public health and safety associated with importing or manufacturing hazardous substances and introducing new organisms, and their use."
The Authority of ERMA New Zealand makes decisions on applications under Part V of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act, by evaluating risks, costs and benefits, placing conditions on approvals; and making decisions on transitional licences and other approvals. ERMA New Zealand's Authority uses risk management principles contained in the Methodology to guide its work.
Under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996, the Authority is required to consider and weigh up the adverse and beneficial effects of a new organism or substance. The detailed decisions of the Authority also give an insight into how it has dealt with different aspects of risks, costs and benefits.
To mitigate any risks they apply controls (where relevant and possible) to the application, just as in everyday life we wear seatbelts to reduce the risks associated with driving. The controls might include housing the organism or substance in a specially designed laboratory or they may be to wear protective equipment when handling a certain hazardous chemical.
The Authority's role is to manage risks to the environment and to public health, and they do this through their decision-making processes on applications. When they receive an application they weigh up the adverse and beneficial effects on society, the environment, public health etc.
Neil WalterChairman of ERMA
* [http://ermanz.govt.nz/ ERMA] - home page.
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