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The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (NSW) (the Act) provides an environmental regulatory framework in NSW.  Regulatory authorities are able to issue environment protection licences under the Act to control the impact of pollution.  These licences are sometimes referred to as ‘pollution licences’.  The relevant regulatory authorities are the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), local councils, the Roads and Maritime Service and the Marine Parks Authority.

The pollution licences that are issued are subject to conditions.  For premises that do not hold an pollution licence, the local Council regulates pollution from the premises.  The activities that require a licence are listed in Schedule 1 of the Act. The activities that are listed are generally activities that have the potential to have significant environmental impacts.  Licences are issued for:

  • scheduled development work;
  • premises based activities;
  • non-premises based activities; and
  • to regulate water pollution for activities not listed in the Schedule.

It is an offence to carry out an activity on scheduled premises without a pollution licence.

Where an application for a pollution licence is made, for example – by the EPA, but is refused, the applicant, within 21 days of the decision, can apply to the Land and Environment Court of NSW for a review of the merits of the EPA’s decision to refuse to grant a licence.  Appeals can also be made in relation to the conditions of a licence.  Members of the public appeal in relation to a legal error in the way the licence was issued.

If you would like assistance with an environment protection licence or assistance in any other planning, environment or local government matter.  Contact our expert team of planning lawyers, local government lawyers and environmental lawyers in Parramatta on 1800 300 308 or

DISCLAIMER: This article is provided to clients and readers for their general information and on a complimentary basis. It contains a brief summary only and should not be relied upon or used as definitive or complete statement of the relevant workplace law.