Environmentally Relevant Activities (ERAs) are activities that will, or have the potential to, release contaminants into the environment that may cause environmental harm. It is a requirement of the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (EP Act) and the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008 (EP Regs) that anyone who conducts an ERA must possess an environmental authority.

Changes to EP Act and EP Regs

The Queensland Government on 31 March 2013 changed the provisions of the EP Act and Regulations. Some of the major changes and impacts are listed below.

A number of environmentally relevant activities (ERA’s) have been deleted under the Regulations. Businesses previously holding a registration certificate with Council to operate an ERA that has been deleted will no longer require the registration certificate to operate and will be made exempt from the licensing requirements.

It is important to note that any environmental conditions that have been prescribed under a development condition that formed part of a Council approval to conduct an ERA will remain in force even though the ERA category has been deleted under the Regulations. If Council assesses an activity that is no longer required to have an approval under the EP Act, it will be legally bound to comply with these development conditions.

Another change relates to the terminology used in the legislation. The certificate of registration will now be referred to as an environmental authority. Council, for the remainder of the 2012/13 licence period will recognise existing approvals as an environmental authority. It will be replaced with a new environmental authority during the annual renewal period to occur in May – June this year.

Local Government Devolved ERA’s

The following ERAs are devolved to Local Government as listed in schedule 1 of the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008.

  • ERA # 12 Plastic Product Manufacturing
  • ERA # 19 Metal Forming (greater than 1000 tonnes per year but excluding cold processing)
  • ERA # 20 Metal Recovery
  • ERA # 38 Surface coating (for anodising, electroplating, enamelling or galvanising using 1 – 100 tonnes of materials per year)
  • ERA # 49 Boat maintaining and repairing (within 50 metres of a bed of naturally occurring surface waters)
  • ERA # 61 Waste incineration and thermal treatment
Please note that the above-mentioned activities are not devolved to local government if any of the following apply:
  • The activity includes a non-devolved ERA at the same place;
  • The activity is carried out by local or state government; or
  • The activity is mobile and temporary ERA that is carried out in more than one local government area.

How will local governments decide environmental authority applications?

In making a decision the administering authority must consider the following:

  • the regulatory requirements in the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008
  • the application
  • any responses to an information request
  • the standard criteria in the Environmental Protection Act 1994

Each local government may have specific assessment criteria relevant to local environmental values. It is therefore important to contact the local government in question to better understand the local environmental

aspects of the application.

What activities are the Department of Environment & Science Protection responsible for?

ERA’s not devolved to local government, listed in Schedule 2 of the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008, must be notified to the Department of Environmental and Science(DES) within the state government.  To find out what type of Licence or Permit you need and how to apply, go to the DES website – Click Here

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