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.