Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Environmental Issues

Environment protection licences

Glossary of licensing terms

Accountable party - The accountable party is the holder of the licence. There may be more than one accountable party for a licence, such as in cases of joint ventures or partnerships.

Activity - An industrial, agricultural or commercial activity or an activity of any other nature whatever (including the keeping of a substance or an animal)

Actual load - Annual mass of emissions of an assessable pollutant (in kilograms)

Administrative fee - Licence fee payable to the EPA for regulation of a licensee's activities, determined by the number of fee units the activity attracts

Agreed load - Future load goal for an assessable pollutant committed to under a Load Reduction Agreement and used to calculate fee reductions

Anniversary date - The annual anniversary of the date of issue of a licence

Annual load limit - Annual limit or cap on a licensee's discharge of an assessable pollutant (in kilograms)

Annual return - Report on pollutant loads, monitoring and complaints, and statement of compliance

Approved methods for the modelling and assessment of air pollutants in NSW - A document listing the statutory methods to be used for the modelling and assessment of air pollutants from stationary sources in NSW

Approved methods for the sampling and analysis of water pollutants in NSW - A document listing the methods to be used when complying with a requirement to test for the presence or concentration of matter in water

Assessable load - Least of actual, weighted or agreed loads for an assessable pollutant

Assessable pollutant - For the purposes of load-based licensing, an assessable pollutant is an air pollutant or water pollutant specified in relation to an activity listed in Schedule 1 of the POEO General Regulation.

Catchment - The area in which water (from rainfall or otherwise) collects, to form the supply of a river, stream or drainage area

Compliance cost - Cost of complying with regulatory requirements

Critical zone weighting - Weighting factor given to pollutants discharged to sensitive environments or areas under stress from pollution

Emission factor - Estimated emission rate for an assessable pollutant, used to calculate annual pollutant loads as permitted by the Load Calculation Protocol

Emissions trading scheme - A scheme that allows the exchange of pollution entitlements and responsibilities within a limited area, in recognition of licensees' different capacities for and costs of pollution abatement

Environmental/compliance audits - Periodic evaluation of a licensee's activities to check compliance with licence conditions and other legal requirements

Environmental management calculation protocol – Protocol that sets out the method the EPA will use to determine the environmental management category under the risk-based licensing system which will commence on 1 July 2015

Environmental management category – An A, B, C, D or E category allocated to a licence holder under the risk-based licensing system, which will commence on 1 July 2015, based on the licence holder’s environmental performance. From 1 July 2016 the environmental management category will be used to calculate the administrative fee in accordance with clause 10 of the POEO (General) Regulation.

Environmental management factor –Listed in the table to clause 10 of the POEO (General) Regulation. Environmental management factors are multipliers corresponding to each environmental management category under the risk-based licensing system which will commence on 1 July 2015.  From 1 July 2016 the environmental management factor will be used to calculate the licence administrative fee.

Environmental planning instrument - Statutory plan or policy created under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, aimed at controlling the scale and nature of development and its impact on the environment

Environment protection notice - Clean-up, prevention or prohibition notice issued by the EPA under Chapter 4 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997

Fee rate threshold - Reasonably achievable discharge level (expressed in kilograms) above which pollutant fee rate doubles (see how to calculate fee rate thresholds)

Flow-optimised discharge - Discharge of pollutants during high river flow for maximum dilution

FRT factor - Factor used to establish an assessable pollutant's fee rate threshold (expressed in kilograms of pollutant emitted per unit of economic activity)

Hunter River Salinity Trading Scheme - An emissions trading scheme operating in the Hunter River catchment of NSW that limits total salt discharges: the discharge limit is varied daily to match river flow conditions and individual discharges are shared within the limit according to holdings of tradeable credits.

Licence - Environment protection licence issued by the EPA under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 which states what licensees may, must and must not do to protect the environment while conducting activities

Licence application - An application for the issue, transfer, surrender or variation of a licence

Licence condition - A condition of a licence which can include limit conditions, volume and mass limit conditions, monitoring and recording conditions, reporting and general conditions, and special conditions

Licence review - The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 requires that the EPA review a licence regularly after the issue of the licence to ensure all conditions are appropriate (see POEO Act, section 78).

Licence transfer - The transfer of a licence to another accountable party (see POEO Act, section 54)

Licence variation - The EPA or the holder of a licence may seek to vary the licence (including the conditions of a licence). A variation includes the attaching of a condition, the substitution of a condition, the omission of a condition or the amendment of a condition (see POEO Act, section 58).

Licensee - Holder of a licence

Load-based fees - Licence fees that are based on the amount of particular pollutants that are discharged by an activity. Load-based fees do not have to be paid for all activities.

Load-based Licence Technical Review Panel - Body that advises the EPA on the contents of the Load Calculation Protocol

Load-based licensing - A scheme that sets limits on the total pollution emitted by licensees and links their licence fees to these emissions - the lower the emissions, the lower the fee.

Load Calculation Protocol - Instruction manual for licensees that sets out acceptable methods for calculating assessable pollutant loads

Load Reduction Agreement - Agreement between a licensee and the EPA to reduce the licensee's pollutant load by a future date. The licensee pays a reduced fee, based on the reduced load during the agreement, freeing funds for pollution abatement.

Mass balance calculation - Quantification of difference in flow of materials into and out of a process, used to calculate emissions

Mobile plant licence - A licence for non-premises-based scheduled activities carried out by mobile plant

National Pollutant Inventory - National reporting and public information system on emissions to air, land and water

Offset schemes - Pollution reduction initiatives that allow a licensee to compensate for their premises-based emissions by counteracting or reducing equivalent emissions elsewhere at lower cost

POEO Act - The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 which sets up the NSW environmental regulatory framework and determines the need for licence

Pollutant fee unit - The dollar value used in the load fee calculation formula for any licence fee period (as listed in clause 19(7) of the Protection of the Environment (General) Regulation 2009)

Pollutant load fee - Amount of money owing for discharges of assessable pollutants (part of annual environment protection licence fees)

Pollutant weighting - Factor that reflects a pollutant's harmfulness (see a list of pollutant weighting factors)

Premises-based licence - A licence to authorise the carrying out of scheduled development work, scheduled activities or to control the carrying out of non-scheduled activities for the purpose of regulating water pollution

Revocation - The EPA may revoke a licence if, for example, a condition of the licence has been contravened or fees have not been paid (see POEO Act, section 79).

Risk-based licensing – A system that aims to ensure that all environment protection licensees receive a risk level based on its activity, thus receiving an appropriate level of regulation based on the environmental risk of the activity.  The risk-based licensing system will commence on 1 July 2015.

Scheduled activity - An activity listed in Schedule 1 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997

Scheduled development work - Work at any premises at which scheduled activities are not carried on that is designed to enable scheduled activities to be carried on at the premises

Source monitoring - Recording of volume and concentration of emissions from premises, as specified in the Load Calculation Protocol

Statement of compliance - A component of the annual return relating to compliance with the conditions of a licence

Status - The status of a licence can be 'issued' when the licence is in force, 'surrendered' when the licence has been surrendered by the licensee and is no longer in force, and 'revoked' when the licence has been cancelled by the EPA (see POEO Act, section 79).

Surrender - A licence may, on the written application of the holder of the licence, be surrendered with the written approval of the EPA (see POEO Act, section 80).

Transfer - The transfer of a licence to another accountable party (see POEO Act, section 54)

Variation - The EPA or the holder of the licence may seek to vary a licence (including the conditions of a licence). A variation includes the attaching of a condition, the substitution of a condition, the omission of a condition or the amendment of a condition (see POEO Act, section 58).

Waste transporter licence - A licence covering transport of various types of hazardous, industrial or liquid waste or used tyres

Weighted load - Where the actual load is discounted in recognition of measures to reduce the environmental harm of emissions without necessarily reducing the quantity of emissions

Page last updated: 08 May 2014