Business life cycle
Businesses go through many changes during their life cycle. Expanding production, changing ownership, relocating premises and new services, products or processes can all have an effect on your environmental obligations.
For example, many business-owners do not realise that when they expand their business, they might require an EPA licence when they have not in the past.
These pages outline a number of issues for you to think about when assessing changes to your business. However, you should not consider this information as official legal advice.
Starting a business
If you are intending to start a business then you should check whether you need a licence to operate under the Environment Protection Act 1993.
Generally, a business requires an EPA licence when it carries out what is called an activity of environmental significance. You can seek advice about this from the planning department of your local council or email the EPA.
If you need to apply for an EPA licence you will be asked to provide detailed information on the potentially polluting aspects of your business. This information will be assessed and used to determine the conditions under which you must operate. Failure to comply with those conditions may result in a fine or court action being taken by the EPA.
If you are considering expanding your business and do not already hold an EPA licence, you should speak with the EPA as you may now require one.
If you are already an EPA licensee and you are planning to expand your business operations then you should contact your licence coordinator.
A change in your processes or the construction of new plant or equipment may require EPA approval to ensure that there are no additional environmental impacts, or that any additional impacts will be properly managed.
Business premises licensed by the EPA may be relocated. However, this will require a reassessment of the conditions of licence.
A new location has the potential to generate a whole new set of environmental issues. These must be considered when setting licence conditions for the new location to ensure that environmental impacts are properly managed.
Contact your licence coordinator or the EPA for more information.
Purchasing a business
If you intend on purchasing a business that already holds an EPA licence then you must apply to the EPA to have the licence transferred into your name.
The EPA must approve the transfer. However, the application may be rejected if you:
- are shown not to be a fit and proper person
- have contravened the Environment Protection Act 1993
- have contravened certain other Acts. These other Acts are generally the environment acts operating in other states. A full list can be found in the legislation.
An EPA licensee who is planning to shut down their operations may be required to develop a closure or post-closure plan.
Under this plan, the EPA will negotiate conditions for the management and monitoring of the land post-closure on which the business was carried out.
The EPA will only impose conditions if there is the potential for environmental harm after the business has ceased.