Licences and approvals

Research, development and demonstration (RD&D) approvals

You can find RD&D approvals on the EPA Interaction Portal:

Search for an RD&D approval

Works approval is required pursuant to section 19A of the Environment Protection Act 1970  for works at scheduled premises which will, or will be likely to, alter or increase the discharge of wastes or emission of noise to the environment. This also applies to the treatment and storage of prescribed wastes.

The works approval process was established to deal with commercial scale proposals where industrial process and discharge parameters are well known and where there is an ongoing discharge to the environment. Given the nature of research, development and demonstration projects, a different procedure is needed to cater for such projects that are typically limited in scale, duration and environmental impact.

This procedure is known as research, development and demonstration (RD&D) approval and is applicable to genuine RD&D projects.

Large projects that pose the same level of risk of environmental impact as established commercial scale industrial processes will have to undergo the usual works approval.

Benefits and outcomes

  • Industry benefits from a simple procedure for RD&D approvals.
  • Approvals granted (or refused) within 30 days.
  • Less cost to industry.
  • Lower application fee.
  • Provides for legal certainty with the issuing of an RD&D approval.
  • Encourages development of technologies.
  • Addresses environmental issues.
  • Directly contributes to improved environment protection and industrial development.

How to apply

If you are the occupier of scheduled premises, or would become scheduled with the installation of your proposed project, you may apply for RD&D approval, provided the works are for genuine research, development or demonstration. Small scale research at recognised research institutions would not normally make the premises scheduled. Such situations should be discussed with EPA.

Prior to completing an application form, the RD&D pathway must first be confirmed by EPA. Complete the Approvals proposal form and pathway – Form and submit to EPA via

Application form number RD&D/94 Research Development and Demonstration Approval must be fully completed and signed by an authorised officer of the company once this pathway is confirmed.

Attach to the application form your supporting information, specifically addressing the following key points.


State the purpose and expected outcomes of the proposed project.

Scale and dimension

The scale and dimension of the project will generally be small in relation to existing operations and not a large development, particularly on a greenfield site. State the approximate volumes of product and waste to be handled and the approximate size of the project.


The duration of RD&D projects would normally be in the order of a few months rather than years. State the duration of your project.

Potential environmental impact

To enable EPA to ascertain the environmental effects, please state what the anticipated emissions will be and where they will be going (air, land, water or noise). Also detail any offsite waste disposal.


Provide details of your proposed environmental monitoring program for the project.

Contingency plans

Provide details of your contingency plans for routine operations and also for coping with any emergency situation to protect the environment.

Certificate of incorporation

Attach a copy of your certificate of incorporation.


A fee of 60 fee units must accompany your application. See Fees and penalties for the current value of fee and penalty units.

Acceptance of applications

Rejecting applications

Applications that do not include the above requirements cannot be considered by the Authority.


If you require any of the details in your application to the Authority to be confidential, you should clearly indicate your requirements in the submission.

Submitting applications

Completed applications should be mailed to EPA or to your local EPA regional manager.

Granting approval

The Authority will issue, or refuse to issue, an approval within 30 days of receiving an application containing the required information as listed above. The approval may contain specific conditions that must be adhered to by the applicant.

Other approvals

It is your responsibility to obtain all other necessary permits and approvals as the RD&D approval in no way overrides other statutory processes. For example, a planning permit may be required by the local council.

When a commercial operation is proposed following a RD&D project, a works approval pursuant to section 19A of the Act must be obtained.

Penalties and offences

You should note that section 19G(1) of the Environment Protection Act provides for a maximum court penalty of up to 2400 penalty units for contravention of conditions contained in RD&D Approvals, plus an additional 1200 penalty units for each day an offence continues.

See Fees and penalties for the current value of fee and penalty units.

Further information

Further information can be obtained by contacting EPA.

Page last updated on 1 Jul 2016