A sanction is a punishment or consequence if you don’t comply with the law. EPA can use different types of sanctions. These include: 

  • warnings 
  • infringement notices 
  • enforceable undertakings 
  • civil proceeding and court prosecutions 
  • court orders 

To find out more, see EPA’s Sanction powers policy (publication 1814), which sets out the range of sanctions under the Act.

See also our Compliance and enforcement policy (publication 1798), which sets out EPA’s compliance and enforcement approach.


EPA can issue a warning where we have evidence of non-compliance for some lower risk activities. Warnings can help you to learn how to comply and improve the way you do things.

Infringement notice 

Infringement notices are a financial penalty for breaches of law. An infringement notice is like a fine. It means that you must pay an amount of money for breaking the law. These cover a limited number of offences under the Environment Protection Act 2017 and Regulations.  

Enforceable undertaking

An enforceable undertaking is an alternative to prosecution or a civil penalty proceeding. Under an enforceable undertaking, an alleged offender voluntarily enters into a binding agreement with EPA. They agree to undertake actions to deal with the non-compliance and any impacts.  

Civil proceedings and criminal prosecutions

EPA will start criminal prosecutions for serious breaches of the law. This could mean Supreme Court action.

Civil proceedings in the Magistrates’ or Supreme Court are an alternative to criminal proceedings.

Court orders

A court makes a court order as part of a criminal prosecution or civil proceeding. Court orders reflect the expectations of the community when it comes to environment protection.

Court orders apply to the person who broke the law and can take several forms. They include requirements to pay financial penalties, publish an apology, or restore the environment. 

Read more

External reviews of our compliance and enforcement 

The role of EPA’s authorised officers

New laws and your business

Compliance and enforcement

Enforceable undertakings

Reviewed 24 June 2021