The new environment protection laws took effect on 1 July 2021. 

EPA is using its powers under the Environment Protection Amendment Act 2017 (the Act) to protect human health and the environment. Some parts of the law will come into effect gradually, while others have been enforceable from day one.

We’ll support you if you’ve taken reasonable steps to understand and meet your obligations under the Act. We’ll also support businesses that must make major changes to their compliance obligations. 

If you haven’t tried to understand or follow the new laws, we’ll act to make sure you meet your obligations. 

About enforcement and compliance

EPA takes a practical approach to enforcement and support voluntary compliance. You can find out how we do this in our draft Regulatory Strategy 2020-2025 (publication 1800) (the Strategy). 

Two new EPA policies aim to help the Strategy work: 

The Compliance and Enforcement Policy explains how we’ll decide whether people have complied with the new laws. The policy covers what we can do to make sure people comply.

The Permissions scheme policy explains how we’ll give businesses and community bodies permission to conduct certain activities under the new laws. We’ll give permissions as registrations, permits or licences. 

Current EPA licence holders will continue to hold their licences under the new Act. We’ll contact all licence holders as we transition to the new laws.

Find out more about our permissions framework

About third-party rights

Third-party rights are an important new tool that gives the community broader access to justice. You can apply for third party rights in the courts.

This part of the Act starts one year after the rest of the Act. This will give the justice system time to adapt and expand its capacity to meet community needs.

Find out more about third-party rights.

Read next

EPA’s compliance approach

A clearer penalty structure for offenders

Discontinuation of SEPPs and WMPs

Reviewed 2 July 2021