Licences and approvals

Environment improvement plans (EIPs)

What is an environment improvement plan (EIP)?

An EIP is a tool that helps organisations manage the environmental impact of their activities. They are normally developed in consultation with nearby or affected communities, either as a statutory requirement or voluntarily as part of good business practice.

EIPs are important because they:

  • improve environmental performance of businesses beyond standard statutory requirements
  • improve community-level engagement, transparency and accountability, and
  • provide the level of assurance required for continuous compliance, improvement and safety.

When is an EIP required in Victoria?

EIPs can be:

  • A statutory requirement for all polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-related activities, including transporters/accredited agents that handle PCB or items under the Notifiable Chemical Order.
  • A statutory condition for any activity involving the storing or handling of chemical substances that have the potential to contaminate land (as per Clause 17:3 of the State Environment Protection Policy (SEPP)(Prevention and Management of Contamination of Land in Victoria).
  • Required in other situations such as wastewater discharges (as per Clauses 27-30 and Clause 30 (Mixing Zones) of  SEPP (Waters of Victoria).
  • A requirement for the control of noise under State Environment Protection Policy (Control of Noise from Commerce, Industry and Trade) (SEPP N-1). Refer to clause 17A(1) which allows an existing facility with no practicable means to comply with SEPP N-1 objectives, to submit an environment improvement plan. Clause 17(B) specifies what is to be included in the plan.
  • A way of demonstrating that organisations will operate in a manner acceptable to the Authority, and hence be eligible for the following exemptions specified under the Environment Protection (Scheduled Premises) Regulations 2017 ('the regulations'):
    • 11(d) relates to works approval and licence exemptions for an effluent reuse scheme or activity which meets discharge, deposit and operating specifications acceptable to the Authority
    • 12(c) relates to works approval and licence exemptions for a biosolid reuse scheme or activity which meets deposit and operating specifications acceptable to the Authority.

Under the licensing reform of 2010, EIPs no longer need to be submitted to EPA, unless specifically required under another mechanism such as on of those listed above (a state environment protection policy, a notifiable chemical order, a works approval, or an accredited licence requirement).

EPA does, however, encourage licence holders to retain their existing EIPs as a way of driving continuous improvement.

What are the benefits of EIPs?

Benefits include:

  • improved environmental performance standards
  • improved accountability and transparency between businesses and communities
  • improved environment stewardship.

How do you develop an EIP?

The content and structure of EIPs may vary according to business types, but their objective remains the same. Some key considerations when developing all EIPs include:

  • working in partnership with the community
  • genuine commitment
  • community accessibility
  • integration with existing environmental policies
  • tailoring the EIP for a specific business and site
  • monitoring aspects
  • reporting of EIP implementation.

What guidance is available for EIPs?

The following guidelines are available to assist you with EIP development:

EPA encourages organisations to develop EIPs for the key purpose of safeguarding our environment. For any further assistance required, please call 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC).

Page last updated on 13 Jun 2018