Business, industry and planning guidance

Licences – when does my business need one?

An EPA licence is required for all scheduled premises, unless the premises are exempted in the Environment Protection (Scheduled Premises) Regulations 2017.

A licence may be held by any legal entity, whether:

  • a person
  • a company
  • a statutory corporation
  • a municipal council.

Licences contain standard conditions to control the operation of the premises and ensure that there is no adverse impact on the environment. These conditions address areas such as waste acceptance and treatment, air and water discharges, and noise and odour. The Environment Protection Act 1970 (‘the EP Act’) specifies penalties for breach of licence conditions, and for operating a site without a licence.

Licence subsequent to works approval

When a works approval has been obtained, and the occupier believes that the works have been completed in accordance with the approval, an application for a licence or a licence amendment may be made to EPA.

If there is no existing licence, please use the licence application form (Word 195KB).

If there is an existing licence please submit a signed formal request for a licence amendment, indicating completion (or partial completion) of works, and provide the reference details for the relevant works approval.

There is no usually application fee for this type of application; however, the appropriate documents must be submitted to EPA at

EPA will inspect the works and, if they are found to comply with the conditions of the works approval, will issue the new or amended licence.

Monitoring licence compliance

A monitoring program must be developed by each licence holder to ensure they, and EPA, can determine licence compliance. To do this, a licence holder should use a risk-based approach to determine the level of monitoring required.

Licence holders should be familiar with how their site interacts with the environment and community, and as such, be in a good position to develop an adequate monitoring program. These monitoring plans are auditable documents that a licence holder must retain on the licensed premises for seven years.

Support for licence holders

EPA has developed guidance materials to help licence holders interpret conditions, develop an adequate monitoring plan and report to EPA.

Licence transfer

When a site changes ownership, or the legal name of the licence holder changes, an application for licence transfer must be made. This should be done within 30 days of the site changing hands.

Licence surrender and revocation

When a licence holder believes that the site is no longer being operated in a manner that requires an EPA licence (that is the scheduled activity has ceased) application may be made to surrender the licence. This may result in a pro-rata refund of the current annual licence fee.

The EP Act contains provisions for EPA to suspend or revoke a licence under certain conditions.

Page last updated on 3 Jul 2017