Licences and approvals

Licensed Operator Risk Assessment


On this page:

EPA is transforming to a modern, risk-based regulator. The Licensed Operator Risk Assessment (LORA) model is a key part of our transformation. It provides a consistent and transparent approach to prioritise our planned licence compliance inspections based on the risk of each site.

Since launching in July 2012 every licensed site has been inspected to collect up-to-date information and validate the risk ratings that have been assigned to individual sites.

Matrix of noncompliance against risk

LORA applies to all premises that hold an EPA licence. These may include:

  • operations of intensive farming of pigs and poultry
  • waste treatment and storage
  • paper, food and drink manufacturing
  • chemical manufacturing
  • waste incineration activities
  • landfills
  • printing
  • production and processing of metals and steels
  • cement and lime activities.

The operations on these types of sites are licensed because of the risk they pose to the environment and are scheduled under the Environment Protection (Scheduled Premises and Exemptions) Regulations 2007.

In addition to planned licence compliance inspections (informed by LORA), EPA also inspects licensed sites as part of:

  • auditing a licensee’s annual performance statement
  • responding to pollution and emergency reports and incidents
  • undertaking local, regional, or sector-based strategic compliance initiatives.

How does LORA work?

The LORA model represents both ‘risk or harm to health and the environment’ and ‘likelihood of non-compliance’. It assesses licensed sites on six different criteria, including:

  • the site’s activities
  • proximity to receptors
  • emissions and wastes
  • the site’s management systems and plans
  • compliance history
  • level of community engagement.

A LORA risk rating is calculated using information EPA currently holds and gathers across these six criteria. An operator with a low risk rating can expect fewer planned licence compliance visits, while those with a higher risk rating can expect more.

What is assessed?

The LORA rating will be comprised of the following six criteria:

LORA criteria

  • Site activities – the type of activities that are licensed and the level of risk they pose to human health and the environment.
    • The types of processes and chemicals used by the site.
    • The complexity of the activities and effort needed by EPA to assess compliance.
  • Proximity to receptorsthe receiving environment around the site.
    • The distance to where people live and to recreation areas.
    • The distance to surface and ground waters.
    • The proximity of special or significant social or environmental features.
    • The features of the site that may make any potential release easier or harder to control.
  • Emissions and wastethe type and amount of waste an activity is licensed to emit or receive.
    • Discharges to air.
    • Discharges to water and land.
    • Solid inert waste and putrescible waste being received.
    • Storage, treatment, reprocessing or disposal of wastes.
  • Site management – the management systems and investment in environmental management.
    • Processes and plans used to maintain plant and equipment, and prevent incidents.
    • Processes for induction, training and maintaining the necessary capability for environmental management.
    • The management systems, checking and reporting to deliver environmental performance.
  • Compliance rating – the number and severity of non-compliances identified by EPA at that site.
    • How well a site operates within the rules of the licence.
    • What impact to the environment did or may have occurred from any breaches of the rules.
  • Community engagement – the ability of a site operator to work with its local community and listen to any concerns.
    • The number of reports made to EPA’s pollution hotline about a site.
    • How the site includes the community in the operations of the site.
    • Whether the site provides regular information to the community on its activities and performance.

Page last updated on 29 May 2015