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.

For many years, EPA has issued licences to businesses that can impact the environment from their activities. Our new legislation introduces two new types of permissions in addition to licences. From 1 July 2021, EPA will be issuing Licences, Permits and Registrations as our types of activity permissions. 

Each type of permission has been created to suit the type of activity being conducted. Their design varies with the level of risk to the environment from the activity, and the level of control that EPA believes needs to be put in place. They also help set performance standards – what we expect people should do in order to meet the conditions of the permission they have been given. Our new approach will be risk-based and flexible, making it easier for businesses to meet their environmental obligations. 

Licences are designed for complex activities that have significant risk of harm to the environment and human health. They are intended for complex activities that need the highest level of regulatory control. This will help manage significant risks to human health and the environment. They will be subject to review approximately every five years.

Permits are designed for medium to high-risk activities with low complexity. We will assess them with a simple and consistent process.

Registrations will be simple to obtain, and suited to low to medium-risk activities.

The draft Permissions Scheme Policy* (publication 1799) describes how EPA’s three types of permissions will work.  It covers the factors we will consider, to assess permissions. It also covers how this new system will work with other parts of EPA’s new regulatory framework. The draft Permissions Scheme Policy supports our draft Regulatory Strategy 2020-2025 (publication 1800).

*This document will be finalised following the making of EPA’s Regulations in mid-2021 . We have made the draft available now to assist with:

  • preparation for when our new Act and subordinate legislation are intended to come into effect on 1 July 2021
  • understanding EPA’s permissioning function under our draft Regulatory Strategy 2020-2025.

Read more about this change for the better 

A clearer penalty structure for offenders

Changing to the new Act

Understanding your environmental obligations 

Better information sharing

Reviewed 5 June 2020