Licensing under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997

The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act) establishes the NSW environmental regulatory framework and includes a licensing requirement for certain activities.

Environment protection licences are a central means to control the localised, cumulative and acute impacts of pollution in NSW. In particular they aim to

  • protect, restore and enhance the quality of the environment in NSW, having regard to the need to maintain ecologically sustainable development
  • provide increased opportunities for public involvement and participation in environment protection
  • ensure that the community has access to relevant and meaningful information about pollution
  • rationalise, simplify and strengthen the regulatory framework for environment protection
  • improve the efficiency of administration of the environment protection legislation
  • reduce risks to human health and prevent the degradation of the environment by the use of mechanisms that promote the following
    • pollution prevention and cleaner production
    • the reduction to harmless levels of the discharge of substances likely to cause harm to the environment
    • the reduction in the use of materials and the re-use or recycling of materials
    • the making of progressive environmental improvements, including the reduction of pollution at source
    • the monitoring and reporting of environmental quality on a regular basis.

The POEO Act contains a list of activities that require an environment protection licence. These are listed in Schedule 1 of the POEO Act.

eConnect EPA is the Environment Protection Authority's (EPA) online licensing tool.
Go to eConnect EPA to start an application for a licence.

More information on licensing and help in determining whether you require a licence can be found in the Guide to licensing.

For more information on other environmental legislation and licensing requirements, see other environmental legislation.

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