Purpose of the SchemeThe Scheme is designed to provide an incentive for environmental protection licence (EPL) holders to comply with the environmental protection standards set by the EPA. Under the Scheme, licensees assessed as having a poor environmental performance record will incur higher licence fees because they require a greater level of regulatory intervention, e.g., more intensive monitoring. This allows for a risk assessment process that is proportionate to the level of environmental risk that the EPL holder generates which does not shift the burden of costs of such activities to the community.
The risk assessment processThe EPA will conduct a risk assessment for each EPL holder in consultation with the holder in order to determine:
- the appropriate environmental management category (A, B, C, D or E in descending order of performance), and
- the appropriate environmental risk level (1, 2, or 3 in ascending order of risk) for their activities.
The category will determine the risk of the EPL holder so that the EPA is able to ascertain the regulatory intervention required for that particular licensee.
To make this determination, the EPA will have regard to three factors:
- the day-to-day operations at the site
- the risk of pollution incidents occurring at the site, and
- the environmental management performance of the licensee.
Furthermore, the EPA will take into account the EPL holders history, including past compliance and non compliance and ways in which the EPL is trying to control or mitigate environmental risks.
Review of risk assessmentsFollowing the initial risk assessment, the process will be repeated after a period of five years, unless:
- an environmental incident or report of non-compliance triggers a review ; or
- an EPL holder requests that the EPA review their environmental performance before that time.