Environment protection licences

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) issues environment protection licences to the owners or operators of various industrial premises under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act). Licence conditions relate to pollution prevention and monitoring, and cleaner production through recycling and reuse and the implementation of best practice.

If you think you may require an environment protection licence, consult the Guide to LicensingYou can apply for an environment protection licence via eConnect EPA the EPA's online licensing tool. Read more about how to apply online using eConnect EPA.

If you are unable to complete an online application using eConnect EPA, please email compliance.services@epa.nsw.gov.au for further assistance.

Application forms are available to

All licence holders must

The risk-based licensing system aims to ensure that all environment protection licensees receive an appropriate level of regulation based on the environmental risk of the activity. This allows the EPA to better target regulatory efforts towards high risk and poor performing licensees. The system also provides financial incentives for licensees to improve environmental performance and compliance.

The load-based licensing (LBL) scheme sets limits on the pollutant loads emitted by the state's larger and potentially most polluting industries by linking licence fees to pollutant emissions. The LBL scheme also provides the infrastructure for emissions trading schemes. These enable emissions to be controlled from groups of licensees as well as from individual premises by allowing licensees to buy and sell credits for reducing emissions.

Other information sources relating to environment protection licences are

  • the public register, which contains information on licence reviews, prosecutions and other issues
  • the National Pollutant Inventory, which provides data on types and amounts of certain emissions across Australia, and their impact on health and the environment.

The EPA manages a strategic compliance audit program, which assesses how licence holders comply with existing requirements and provides industry with examples of best practice to encourage improved environmental performance. 

To help the EPA manage its audit program and promote environmental improvements

  • organisations and individuals are required to report pollution incidents under section 148 of the POEO Act
  • authorised officers - normally EPA or local council staff - are appointed to exercise certain functions under the POEO Act.
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