A pilot project licence supports the research, development or demonstration of an innovative technology or technique. This licence belongs in the high-risk permissions tier along with our other licences.  

When you need a pilot project licence  

A pilot project licence is for activities which are limited in scale and duration. This licence allows you to demonstrate technology, processes and monitor environmental performance. It also enables you to legally engage in a prescribed development, operating or permit activity, providing the activity is:  

  • for research, development or demonstration of a technology or technique  
  • of limited scale, dimension and duration  
  • of an acceptable level of risk to human health and the environment.  

If your pilot project trial succeeds and you’d like to progress to a commercial operation, you’ll need further permissions. Initially, a development licence and then an operating licence. The results from your pilot project trial will contribute to your further licence applications.  

The legal basis of pilot project licences are in section 50 of the Environment Protection Act 2017 (the Act).

Research, development and demonstration approvals become pilot project licences  

If you have a current research, development and demonstration approval, this will transition to a pilot project licence. This is under section 470 of the Act.  

How to apply for a new application  

You can apply for a pilot project licence online.

Assessment process  

Once you have submitted your pilot project licence application, we’ll assess it against the environmental requirements in the Act.  

We will also consider any public comments received and your responses to them. We expect you to have already engaged and considered the impact to the community. We will review your application for evidence of the community engagement you have performed.  

We need to decide on a complete pilot project licence application within 22 business days of receiving it. However, this timeframe can change if we need additional information to make a decision.  


A minimum fee of 1047.36 fee units must be paid when you apply.  

Appealing a decision  

You can appeal to have a decision reviewed by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). This must be within 15 business days. For further information contact VCAT on (03) 9628 9777.  

Send a copy of the appeal to the EPA within seven days of lodgement. Mark this to the attention of the Manager, Development Assessment Units.


As a permission holder, we expect you to know your legal obligations. We also expect you know your operational risks and have the adequate risk management controls in place. Non-compliance with the Act or a condition of a permission will be enforced by us in line with our Compliance and enforcement policy (publication 1798). 

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Development licences

Operating licences

Reviewed 23 July 2021