Environmentally Relevant Activities (ERA)
As of 31 March 2013, some licensing processes changed and many businesses no longer needed to apply for an environmental approval from their relevant local government. This is because of the Greentape reduction program and the Queensland government review of the Environmental Protection Act 1994.
What does this mean for Businesses?
Many businesses don’t need to hold an environmental authority with Council; although they will still need to comply with the standards. In most cases, Council Officers are still responsible for investigating pollution incidents and environmental nuisance (e.g. noise, odour, dust from a factory).
The following table shows the licensing requirements for local government Environmentally Relevant Activities (ERA) from 1 March 2013:
|Environmentally relevant activity||ERA threshold||Environmental authority required after 31 March 2013|
|ERA 6 - Asphalt manufacturing||a - manufacturing of asphalt in a year <1000 tonnes||No|
|ERA 6 - Asphalt manufacturing||b - manufacturing more than 1000t of asphalt in a year||Yes|
|ERA 8 - Chemical storage||3a - storing of 10m3 to 500m3 of chemicals of class C1 or C2 combustible liquids under AS 1940 or dangerous goods class 3||No|
|ERA 18 - Boilermaking or engineering||a - producing 200 tonnes to 10,000 tonnes of metal product in a year||No|
|ERA 18 - Boilermaking or engineering||b - producing more than 10,000 tonnes of metal product in a year||No|
|ERA 21 - Motor vehicle workshop operation||No threshold||No|
|ERA 37 - Printing||a - printing 200 to 1000 tonnes of materials in a year||No|
|ERA 37 - Printing||b - printing more than 1000 tonnes of material in a year||No|
|ERA 38 - Surface coating||2a - coating, painting or powder coating using 1 to 100 tonnes of surface coating material p.a.||No|
|ERA 38 - Surface coating||1 - anodising, electroplating, enamelling or galvanising using, in a year, the following quantity of surface coating materials— (a)1t to 100t||Yes|
|ERA 43 - Concrete batching||No threshold||No|
|ERA 48 - Wooden and laminated product manufacturing||1 - manufacturing more than 100 tonnes of wooden products in a year||No|
|ERA 4 – Poultry farming||1 - farming more than 1,000 but not more than 200,000 birds||Yes. Change of administering authority from local to state government.|
|ERA 12 - Plastic product manufacturing||1 - manufacturing, in a year, a total of 50t or more of plastic product, other than a plastic product mentioned in item 2.||Yes<|
|ERA 12 - Plastic product manufacturing||2 - manufacturing, in a year, a total of 5t or more of foam, composite plastics or rigid fibre-reinforced plastics||Yes|
|ERA 19 - Metal forming||hot forming a total of 10000t or more of metal in a year||Yes|
|ERA 20 - Metal recovery||1 - recovering less than 100t of metal in a day.||Yes|
|ERA 20 - Metal recovery||2 - recovering 100t or more of metal in a day, or 10000t or more of metal in a year without using a fragmentiser||Yes|
|ERA 49 - Boat maintenance or repair||operating, on a commercial basis, a boat maintenance or repair facility for maintaining or repairing hulls, superstructure or mechanical components of boats or seaplanes||Yes|
|ERA 61 - Waste incineration and thermal treatment||1 - incinerating waste vegetation, clean paper or cardboard||Yes|
Environmental Authority Application
An Environmentally Relevant Activity (ERA) is an activity that is required to be approved by South Burnett Regional Council or the Queensland Government due to its potential to damage or pollute the environment (air, land, water and noise). This approval is called an environmental authority.
When you need an environmental authority
A business that conducts any of the following activities needs to apply to Council for an environmental authority:
- ERA 6 Asphalt Manufacturing - manufacturing more than 1,000 tonnes of asphalt in a year
- ERA 12 Plastic Product Manufacturing - manufacturing five tonnes or more of foam, composite plastics or fibre-reinforced plastics in a year; or manufacturing 50 tonnes or more of plastic products in a year
- ERA 19 Metal Forming - hot forming a total of 10,000 tonnes or more of metal in a year
- ERA 20 Metal Recovery - operating a scrap metal yard or a facility for dismantling automotive or mechanical equipment (including debonding brake or clutch components) without using a fragmentiser
- ERA 38 Surface Coating - anodising, electroplating, enamelling or galvanising by using 1 to 100 tonnes of surface coating materials in a year
- ERA 49 Boat Maintenance or Repair - operating, on a commercial basis, a boat maintenance or repair facility for maintaining or repairing hulls, superstructure or mechanical components of boats or seaplanes
- ERA 61 Waste Incineration and Thermal Treatment - operating a facility for incinerating waste vegetation, clean paper or cardboard.
- A full list of ERAs, including those that require approval by State Government, can be found in Schedule 2 of the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008.
When no Environmental Authority is needed
You do not need an environmental authority if the activity is not included in as per the Schedule 2 of the EP Regulation, however you still need to comply with other relevant requirements, including:
- making sure you have Planning, Building, and Plumbing approval with Council.
- complying with the General Environmental Duty (Section 319) of the Environmental Protection Act 1994.
Transfer of Environmental Authority
Current Environmental Authorities can be transferred to a new owner. If an Environmental Authority is transferred, the annual fee is not required to be paid until the next anniversary date of the authority. However, a transfer fee maybe required. See fees table
Amalgamated Environmental Authorities
The operator or two or more individual ERA types may apply for a single Environmental Authority for all activities. Environmental Authorities are charged the highest annual fee of the individual ERA types.
|Environmentally Relevant Activity (ERA) type||Annual fee|
|Application for registration certificate + Annual fee||$384|
|Application for continuing registration certificate||$141|
|Annual Registration Certificate Fee: ERA with AES of 0||$151|
|Annual Registration Certificate Fee: ERA with AES of 0 - 10||$229|
|Annual Registration Certificate Fee: ERA with AES of 11-30||$460|
|Annual Registration Certificate Fee: ERA with AES of more than 30||$748|
How to apply for an Environmental Authority:
- Registration with the Queensland Government as a Suitable Operator
Before applying to Council for Planning Approval or an environmental authority, you need to be registered as a suitable operator with Queensland Government.
- Planning approval
All ERAs that are administered by Council require a development permit. When this development application is submitted to Council, it is also assessed as an Environmental Authority Application, that is, you do not need to submit a separate Environmental Authority Application in this instance. Your development application and the environmental authority will be assessed simultaneously.
To apply for a development permit, please refer to the website in the Planning Department section
Environmental Authority Application
If planning approval is already in place, you need to submit an Environmental Application.
Environmental Authorities may be:
- transferred to another person (at the same site)
- amalgamated (if several activities are on the one site, or if one corporate operator of several activities at different sites)
After approval, you will receive a renewal notice and fee every 12 months. Businesses that have a Pollution Prevention Plan and are at best practice standard for the industry can apply for a 50% discount on renewal fees. This discount is referred to as a Green Licence.
If you are planning to purchase a business that is an existing ERA or need to demonstrate compliance for an insurance or bank application, you can request an inspection report outlining the current compliance status of the premises/activity by contacting Council on (07) 4189 9100.
How to comply
It is the responsibility of you and your staff to ensure compliance with all requirements of the relevant legislation. Please see below to relevant links to DEHP guides:
Council is required to monitor the standard of operation of ERAs which is achieved by undertaking routine inspections. The expected frequency of inspections depends on the type of ERA and its level of compliance.
In accordance with the State Legislation, if you are the holder of an Environmental Authority you must comply with the conditions of the development approval for the site.
Failure to comply with these conditions may result in one or more of the following enforcement actions:
- Issuing of a letter requiring action or works to be conducted.
- Issuing of a Direction Notice requiring action to be taken or works to be conducted.
- Issuing of a Penalty Infringement Notice (PIN or on-the-spot fine).
- Issuing of a Notice requiring an operator to conduct or commission an Environmental Evaluation.
- Issuing of a Notice requiring an operator to prepare and submit an Transitional Environmental Program (TEP).
- Issuing of an Environmental Protection Order (EPO).
- Adding, changing or cancelling a development condition.
- Suspension of a environmental authority.
- Cancellation of an environmental authority.