Under the general environmental duty (GED), you must understand the risks from your businesses activities and how to address them as far as reasonably practicable.  

How to comply with the law

What you need to do to comply depends on scale of your activities and how complex they are. It also depends on the nature of the risks you need to manage.  

Find out more about how you can manage your environmental risk and build your state of knowledge. State of knowledge is the information you should reasonably know about managing the risks your business activities pose. 

Meeting other obligations

There are specific duties for businesses generating or dealing with industrial waste.  

There are also specific duties for those in control of potentially contaminated land

What EPA expects from your business

We work with businesses to help the build knowledge, capability and capacity to prevent environmental harm.  

In turn, we expect business owners or operators to learn what their obligations are and comply with them.  

Your business must:

  • assess risks of harm to human health and the environment 
  • put processes in place to minimise risks
  • respond quickly and seriously to EPA’s advice and suggestions, making changes when needed
  • work to minimise environmental impact and repair damage
  • answer questions and provide information.

You must report pollution incidents and respond when EPA raises issues. You must also report any breach of your EPA licence.

We expect you to be open and honest in your dealings with us. EPA takes an escalating approach to enforcement This means we respond more harshly if a business is resistant, evasive or doesn’t account for its risks. 


Read more about meeting your obligations

Reviewed 20 July 2021