Information on this page is not current law. It details new laws intended to commence on 1 July 2021 under the Environment Protection Act 2017.

Better environment plans allow us to formally endorse a new way of complying with the law. They set out approaches to compliance requirements, with which EPA and duty holders agree. Parties to the plan may also need to consult with communities that pollution and waste has affected. 

Groups of organisations can also use better environment plans to show how they’ll address an environmental issue. 

Better environment plans are voluntary. You must give a proposed plan to us for assessment. For a plan to be lawful, EPA needs to accept it and you need to follow what’s in it.  

We’ll support you to understand when you can consider a better environment plan. We’ll also support you to design a plan to prevent harm to human health and the environment. 

Better environment plans in action

Better environment plans help address complex compliance issues, especially across multiple sites or duty holders. They can also provide new ways of addressing risks, such as using new technologies.

 A better environment plan's scope will generally relate to a duty under the Environment Protection Act 2017 (the Act), such as the:

Better environment plans can help duty holders manage their compliance. A better environment plan may also help provide certainty to support new investment.

Better environment plans are not an alternative to meeting your duties. They do not ‘offset’ compliance issues in another area of your business. They also do not provide support for your business if it is not compliant with the Act or your licence.  

Businesses must understand and manage their risks. They should look to standards, guidance and their own management plans before seeking to make better environment plans.  

The future of better environment plans

We expect better environment plans could cover situations such as:

  • Businesses in an industrial estate working together to manage their dust impacts. A plan may help define shared responsibilities and different roles.
  • A business cleaning up many contaminated sites, seeking EPA's approval of a plan. The plan may define the risk assessment and clean-up approach over an agreed time period to address priority risks.  

Read more

Managing low-risk activities to comply with environmental protection laws

Managing medium to high-risk activities to comply with environmental protection laws

Industry guidance

Subordinate legislation tools to support the new Act

Reviewed 31 March 2020