A better environment plan (BEP) is a statutory-based voluntary agreement between EPA and duty holders.  It offers duty holders an opportunity to test innovative solutions to environmental issues or to agree ways in which they can exceed their environmental obligations.

BEPs offer a way to think differently about how to tackle an environmental problem and encourage collaboration between duty holders and interested parties to find solutions to complex environmental issues.

Before considering whether a BEP is suitable, a business must understand and manage their risks. They should look at standards, guidance and their own management plans before seeking to prepare a BEP.


BEPs are not an alternative to meeting your duties. They offer an opportunity to innovatively comply, or exceed compliance, with your duties.

Better environment plans in action

BEPs help address complex compliance issues, especially across multiple sites or duty holders. They can provide new ways of addressing risks, such as using new technologies, and provide certainty to support new investment.

The duty holder must demonstrate they are serious about improving their environmental performance beyond meeting their obligations. Where a BEP is used to trial innovative or new technology, it should demonstrate how it will improve state of knowledge and industry knowledge.

A BEP will need to explain how the business currently meets the relevant duties and obligations under the Act, and how this BEP will go beyond compliance or uses innovation to deliver compliance.

Examples where a BEP may be appropriate

Examples of situations where a BEP may be appropriate, subject to meeting the purpose of s180 of the Environment Protection Act 2017 (the Act) include:

  • Businesses in an industrial estate working together to manage their collective dust impacts. A plan may help define shared responsibilities and different roles.
  • A business cleaning up many contaminated sites.
  • Where a duty holder aims to apply an innovative approach and there is potential for major benefit to knowledge across the sector or for that hazard.

Next steps to creating a BEP

  • Read EPA's guideline for BEPs (publication 2053)

    Applicants should consult EPA's guideline to Better Environmental Plans (publication 2053) to ensure they understand the statutory and administrative requirements of a BEP. It also explains the guiding principles and criteria that EPA employs when considering BEP proposals.

  • Decide if a BEP is suitable for your business

    Once you’ve read EPA’s guideline above, consider whether your proposal will meet the legislative purpose of s180 of the Act.

    If you answer yes to one of the following questions, then a BEP may be suitable.    

    • Is the proposed BEP trialling an innovation to deliver an improved environmental outcome?
    • Is the proposed BEP aiming to deliver an environmental outcome beyond what would be delivered through application of the other obligations in the Act alone?

    Examples where a BEP might not be appropriate

    • If you want to use the BEP to avoid meeting your existing duties.
    • If your business is not compliant with the Act.
    • If any BEP applicants have been convicted for indictable offences over the last decade.


    If you believe a BEP is suitable, please continue to the next section.

  • Ensure your BEP contains this mandatory information

    The drafting of a BEP can be a complex process, as each BEP must be tailored to suit the specific circumstances.

    At a minimum the BEP submission must contain the following information

    1. the objectives of the proposed BEP, outlining what risk of harm to human health or the environment that the proposed plan will address
    2. the participants in the proposed plan
    3. any other person who is likely to be affected by the proposed plan and whether that person has been consulted, or will be consulted in relation to the proposed plan
    4. the actions or responsibilities each participant must undertake under the proposed plan
    5. the reporting requirements for each participant under the proposed plan
    6. the time period the proposed plan will be in force
    7. the time or day by which participants must undertake any required action under the proposed plan.
  • Include supporting material to support your BEP

    We encourage you to include the following information:

    • Description of how the duty holder/s currently meets the relevant duties and obligations under the Act.
    • How this BEP will go beyond compliance or uses innovation to deliver compliance.
    • Site details, the existing use of the site and existing operations including:
      • facility
      • process
      • production rate.
    • Relevant history of the issue, for example compliance, community concerns, investments.
    • Any relevant policy and guidance, from EPA, or other recognised best practice guidance.
    • Stakeholder engagement plan identifying any groups (communities, Traditional Owners, businesses, government departments, etc) impacted by your proposal. Include how you consulted with each and how you have, or will, take their views into account during the preparation and implementation of the BEP.
    • Communications plan that details how you intend to share the learnings from the BEP with industry peers.
    • Where relevant, the application may set out scenario-based commitments and responses. For example, it may include how the duty holder may deal with:
      • changes in the land portfolio for BEPs dealing with multiple sites
      • changes in reasonable awareness, for example new information
      • enquiries by EPA
      • disputes about adequacy of management actions taken
      • failure to disclose or other non-compliance scenarios
      • situations in which the BEP does not provide coverage, for example imminent risks, pollution or notifiable incidents, or those matters that would be subject to urgent EPA action.
    • Whether you need to provide an independent review of risk management methods (both scientific basis and prioritisation methods) by a suitably qualified professional*. If required, include their name, qualifications and experience. 
    • Whether you need to provide an independent review of the plan's performance  by a suitably qualified professional*. If required, include their name, qualifications and experience. 

    *Independent reviews must be undertaken by suitably qualified professionals (with qualifications relevant to the risk that the BEP is addressing).

    The information required to assess a BEP depends on the situation and application.  If you have any questions, please send an email to: BEP@epa.vic.gov.au

  • Submit your BEP proposal

    If you are thinking about submitting a BEP proposal, we encourage you to complete the following steps:

    Contact us for advice

    Email us via bep@epa.vic.gov.au. as early as possible. We can guide and support you throughout the process and explain the level of detail required for individual sections and whether a BEP is appropriate for your circumstances.

    Use the guidance and support materials

    • Scope of BEP form to fine tune and summarise your BEP proposal for EPAs consideration
    • Proposed BEP checklist to check if your proposal meets all mandatory and applicable additional information requirements.

    Draft your proposal using our BEP template

    Use the Better Environment Plan – Submission template, taking into account the feedback and comments you variously receive from EPA, experts, consulted parties, etc. 

    Submit your BEP proposal

    To formally submit a BEP proposal, you must email the completed and signed BEP submission  document, and all supporting materials to bep@epa.vic.gov.au. EPA will then advise on further steps.


Reviewed 17 January 2023