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Each year, approximately 1.5 million passenger car tyres (known as equivalent passenger units or EPUs) are unaccounted for in Victoria – potentially illegally dumped or stockpiled. Tyre fires across the state have shown how the incorrect and illegal storage of tyres can result in significant fire risks that may cause impacts on human health, the environment and property.
In 2015 EPA introduced tighter controls for waste tyre storage to protect Victorians against the fire risk from inappropriately managed waste tyre stockpiles. These regulations specify works approval and licensing requirements for sites that store more than 40 tonnes or 5000 EPUs of waste tyres, and have contributed to a significant reduction in the number of known stockpiles across Victoria.
We have compiled the information on this page to help businesses that store waste tyres as part of their processing and/or recycling operations to understand EPA’s licensing requirements. It will also provide guidance to landowners who use or store waste tyres on their properties.
What is a waste tyre?
We describe waste tyres as ‘generated’ when they can no longer be used for their original purpose and are subsequently removed from a vehicle. At this stage, the tyres can be exported overseas or retained locally.
What is an equivalent passenger unit (EPU)?
Tyre volumes are presented in equivalent passenger units (EPUs). An EPU is based on the typical mass of material in a passenger motor vehicle tyre. See the Q&A for EPU values for some different types of tyres.
Legal requirements for storing waste tyres in Victoria – do I need an EPA licence?
Premises in Victoria that store more than 40 tonnes or 5000 equivalent passenger units (EPU) of whole tyres at any time require an EPA works approval before they are built or modified, and an EPA licence to operate.
Unlicensed businesses face penalties up to $373,104 (2400 penalty units) under the Environment Protection Act 1970 (EP Act).
If you are legitimately reusing whole tyres (for example, as a safety barrier at a race track), then the EPA works approval and licensing requirements will not apply. All waste tyres, however, should be stored in a way that minimises fire risk and hazards to human health and the environment.
The Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) have published guidelines for the safe storage of tyres for both outdoor and indoor locations:
The burning and dumping of waste tyres is an offence under the EP Act and local laws. EPA can issue notices and take further legal action to require their removal and appropriate disposal.
How do I apply for an EPA licence if I have an existing waste tyre storage business?
Existing businesses seeking an EPA licence must complete the Approvals proposal pathway form and provide supporting information. EPA’s Work approval application guideline (publication 1307) outlines the supporting information you must submit with your Approvals proposal pathway form. The list below is a guide to the type of supporting information you should submit to EPA:
- planning permit (if your operation is required to have one)
- company contact details
- site plans
- bushfire-prone area report (if your site operations are performed within a bushfire-prone area or bushfire management overlay)
- Overview of operational activities
- fire risk assessment (completed by an appropriately qualified and/or experienced consultant)
- consultation and recommendations from MFB/ CFA representative after a site visit and discussion.
For further information on supporting information required by EPA, please email email@example.com.
Submitting an Approvals proposal pathway form will allow EPA to assess the need and type of approval required and tell you how long our approval will take from the time we accept your application to giving you our decision. EPA has up to four months to issue a works approval in cases where one is required. If a works approval is not required, an EPA licence will be issued within 60 days. Amendments to existing licences will also be made by EPA within 60 days.
More information on specific licence conditions is available in the Licence management guideline (publication 1322). This guideline is designed to help you understand and manage your licence.
The EP Act specifies penalties for breach of licence conditions, and for operating a site without a licence. Penalties for operating without a licence may be up to $373,104 (2400 penalty units).
For more information relating to the waste tyre storage (A09) licence application process, contact EPA’s Licensing Team Leader on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC).
Sustainability Victoria is supporting EPA and other organisations by providing information, investment support and brokerage initiatives with waste tyre recyclers.
For general information or to report illegal dumping of waste tyres please contact:
GPO Box 4395
Phone: 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC)