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Environment Protection Authority

Environmental Issues

Environment protection licences

Review of the load-based licensing scheme

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is currently reviewing the load-based licensing (LBL) scheme. The scheme has been in operation since 1999 and this review of its effectiveness and efficiency aims to ensure it is fulfilling its potential.

Have your say on the load-based licensing issues paper

The EPA has prepared an issues paper (PDF 2.2MB) for the LBL review and is currently seeking public feedback. Submissions close at 5 pm on 23 December 2016.

The purpose of the issues paper is to provide information about the performance of the LBL scheme and to seek stakeholders’ feedback to inform a comprehensive review of the scheme’s efficiency and effectiveness to date. The paper looks at the LBL scheme in detail, identifies a range of issues and various options for its improvement, and also considers feedback already received, including via a preliminary survey of LBL licensees.

While the issues paper does not set out a proposal for change, it is the start of a genuine consultation process which we hope will garner substantial input from a wide range of stakeholders.

You are invited to provide a submission or comments on this issues paper. Your feedback is welcome on any of the issues outlined in this paper, together with any other matters relevant to the scope of the review.

Please provide your comments to the EPA in any of the following ways:

LBL Review
Regulatory Reform and Advice Branch
Environment Protection Authority
PO Box A290
Sydney South NSW 1232

Submissions close at 5 pm on 23 December 2016.

Supporting documents

The issues paper snapshot (PDF 867KB) provides an overview of the issues paper, including the key issues covered and the options for change put forward for consideration. The snapshot will give you a feel for the range of issues and options presented in the issues paper and to help you identify if there are any specific areas of the issues paper you might like to consider in detail and provide feedback on.

The document NSW EPA’s Load-based Licensing Scheme: Overview and facts about load-based licensing (PDF 1MB) gives an overview of how the LBL scheme works.

The EPA commissioned two consultancies to inform the development of the issues paper. The first was a comparative review of load-based licensing systems (PDF 2.1MB) by BDA Group. The second was a load-based licence fee comparison (PDF 1.4MB) by ACIL Allen. The issues paper describes the purpose and outcomes of these two consultancies in detail.

Next steps

Following the close of the consultation period, the EPA will prepare a proposal paper for further public consultation that takes into account the comments and views received on the issues paper. This proposal paper would set out any recommended changes to improve the LBL scheme and would also include a cost–benefit analysis and an assessment of the likely financial impacts on licensees.

We expect to release the proposal paper for consultation in mid-2017.

Objectives of the review

The objectives of the LBL review are:

  • to assess whether changes are needed to ensure the scheme achieves its objectives as per clause 13 of the Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Regulation 2009 which states:
    'The objects of the load-based licensing scheme are as follows:
    (a) to provide incentives to reduce the load of pollutants emitted based on the polluter pays principle and to do so within an equitable framework,
    (b) to reduce pollution (in particular, assessable pollutants) in a cost effective and timely manner,
    (c) to give industry incentives for ongoing improvements in environmental performance and the adoption of cleaner technologies,
    (d) to provide incentives that are complementary to existing regulation and education programs for environment protection.'
  • to improve the effectiveness of the LBL scheme in driving reductions in air and water pollutant emissions
  • to improve the efficiency and ease of use of the scheme for licensees and the EPA
  • to ensure the scheme has a complete range of tools.

Outline of the review process

The LBL review has four key deliverables:

  • An issues  paper to allow for public consultation, including discussion of key issues, trends, LBL licensee survey results, and options for improvements.
  • A proposal paper, including a more refined proposal for improving the LBL scheme based on further analysis and stakeholder feedback from the issues paper.
  • A final report, including final recommendations for improving the LBL scheme and proposed amendments, including:
    • a draft amendment regulation for public exhibition
    • a draft amended Load Calculation Protocol for public exhibition.
  • A final amendment package, including:
    • a Better Regulation Statement, if the proposed changes are significant, to be published on the EPA’s website
    • the final amendment regulation to be published on the Legislation NSW website
    • the final amended load calculation protocol to be published in the NSW Government Gazette.

Load-based licensing review timeframe

It is anticipated that the LBL review will be completed by early to mid-2018 with implementation occurring from early to mid-2018 onwards. The figure below provides an indicative timeframe for each stage of the review.

Figure showing load-based licensing process

Stay informed

If you would like to be kept informed of the progress of the LBL review, please provide your contact details to the LBL review team. You can also use this email address to raise specific issues about the LBL scheme with the EPA or seek more information.

Online form


Information submitted on this form, including any personal details, will be a matter of public record and will be stored in the EPA records system. You can find out more about how EPA handles the personal information it collects online by reading our privacy policy. By submitting this form, you consent to the collection and use of your personal information in accordance with this policy.
Page last updated: 11 November 2016