Permissions work alongside the general environmental duty, ensuring performance standards and conditions are meeting across a range of activities. There are 3 tiers of permissions based on the level of risk to human health and the environment: 

  1. Licences for high-risk prescribed activities.  
  2. Permits for medium-risk prescribed activities.  
  3. Registrations for low-risk prescribed activities.  

This risk-based approach means we can target different levels of risk with the right balance of permissions and conditions. Our Permissions scheme policy (publication 1799) outlines:  

  • your role, as the permission holder, in ensuring compliance and preventing harm  
  • what we consider when assessing an application for a permission  
  • how permissions work to manage the risks related to prescribed activities.

Licences, approvals and exemptions issued under the Environment Protection Act 1970 have transitioned to the Environment Protection Act 2017.

Read more about how licences and approvals have changed.

Applications for permissions, permission exemptions and designations

To apply for a permission, permission exemptions or designations, you must submit information required by EPA in the approved form and manner. This webpage informs you of the requirements.

Permissions, exemptions and other instruments are issued under the Environment Protection Act 2017 and the Environment Protection Regulations 2021. Links to key guidance and forms to assist you in submitting an application are provided on this page. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Permission pathways





Please carefully check your application before submission. Registrations cannot be amended or transferred under the Act. You need to apply for a new registration and then apply to revoke your old registration. See how to apply for a registration for more details.

Permission exemptions

Permit exemptions

Licence exemptions

Other instruments


Accredited consigner appointments

Authorisation of discharge and disposal

Section 459 exemptions

Common guidance for all applications

Application and assessment fees

  • Application fees are payable for most applications. We will confirm the application fees with you when you apply.
  • Certain applications have variable fees that are charged once a decision about your application is made. See Fees. Variable fees are required when assessments take longer than the normal number of hours specified in the regulations. Variable fees are also capped. 

Prohibited person

Most non-Registration applications require submission of a prohibited person questionnaire. The questionnaire form explains when the form must be completed.

Fit and proper person

The questionnaire form explains when the form must be completed.

Complying with duties

There are a number of duties that apply to your activities.

  • The General Environment Duty (GED) requires you to manage your activities to minimise the risk of harm: to human health and the environment from pollution or waste. See guidance for implementing the GED.
  • Waste duties apply if you are conducting an activity generating or dealing with waste.
  • Contaminated land duties address risk of harm from contamination of land and groundwater.

Significant penalties can apply for breaching these duties.

Applications must outline the duties relevant to your activity and the measures you propose to comply with them.

Principles of environment protection

All non-Registration applications must address the principles of environment protection. 


Comply with your legal obligations

Your proposed activity may require statutory approval from other regulators or statutory authorities. A permission, exemption, authorisation or other instrument issued by EPA does not satisfy your obligations from other laws and regulatory frameworks. For example, an activity that requires an EPA permission may also require you to hold a permit from your local Council or responsible authority under the Planning and Environment Act 1987. You should make all reasonable enquiries of Council and regulators about your activities. You must satisfy yourself of your compliance with your legal obligations under all applicable legislation.

Reviewed 7 March 2024