Environmentally relevant activities


A prescribed Environmentally Relevant Activity (ERA) is an activity that requires approval and monitoring by either Local Government or State Government due to its potential to impact the environment. Prescribed ERA's are defined under Schedule 2 of the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008 and include aquaculture, sewage treatment, metal recovery, surface coating, and asphalt manufacturing.

Following the recent reform of the environmental protection legislation in Queensland, if you conduct an environmentally relevant activity, you must hold an environmental authority for that activity and be registered as a suitable operator with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection. If you held an environmental authority or registration certificate prior to April 2013, you should have been automatically added to the suitable operator register and do not need to take further action. However, any new applications from April 2013 are required to apply for an operator's registration from the relevant administering authority.

Prescribed ERA's

Local Government is the administrating authority for the following prescribed ERA's:

  • ERA 6 Asphalt Manufacturing (1000t or more of asphalt per year);
  • ERA 12 Plastic Product Manufacturing (50t or more of plastic product per year; or 5t or more of foam, composite plastics or rigid fiber-reinforced plastics per year);
  • ERA 19 Metal Forming (10000t or more of hot forming metal per year);
  • ERA 20 Metal Recovery (recovering less than 100t of metal in a day; or recovering, without using a fragmentiser, 100t or more of metal in a day or 10000t or more of metal in a year);
  • ERA 38 Surface Coating (anodising, electroplating, enameling or galvanizing using 1t to 100t of surface coating materials in a year);
  • ERA 49 Boat Maintenance or Repair (within 50 metres of a naturally occurring bed of surface waters)
  • ERA 61 Waste Incineration and Thermal Treatment (incinerating waste vegetation, clean paper or cardboard).

If there is more than one ERA at the same place, or the activities are classed as mobile or temporary and will operate across more than one local government area, one of the State Government departments may be the administering authority.

Registration no longer required

The following ERA's were removed from the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008 and no longer require registration:

  • ERA 6 - Asphalt manufacturing (a) in a year less than 1000 tonnes.
  • 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.
  • ERA 17 - Abrasive blasting
  • ERA 18 - Boilermaking or engineering (a) producing 200 tonnes to 10,000 tonnes of metal product in a year and (b) producing more than 10,000 tonnes of metal product in a year.
  • ERA 21 - Motor vehicle workshop operation.
  • ERA 37 – Printing (a) printing 200 to 1000 tonnes of materials in a year and (b) printing more than 1000 tonnes of material in a year.
  • ERA 38 - Surface coating (2a) coating, painting or powder coating using 1 to 100 tonnes of surface coating material in a year.
  • ERA 43 - Concrete Batching.
  • ERA 48 - Wooden and laminated product manufacturing (1) manufacturing more than 100 tonnes of wooden products in a year.

Contact council if unsure if your business requires a development approval and registration.

Process to apply for an environmental authority

ERA's known as concurrence environmentally relevant activities trigger a material change of use for the environmentally relevant activity under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009. An application must be made to the relevant assessment manager using the Integrated Development Assessment System (IDAS) and submit the forms relevant to the development, which will include Form 1 and Form 8. The Department of State Infrastructure and Planning and Council's Planning team can provide support to applicants.

Technical guidelines for applicants

You will need to consider the impact on environmental values such as air, land, noise, water, and waste. Please visit the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection Guidelines Page to assist you in providing relevant technical information regarding the impacts of the proposed development.

If no approval is required?

If the activity related to your business is not a prescribed ERA, you still have a responsibility to comply with the General Environmental Duty (Section 319, EP Act 1994), and other relevant legislation to ensure that your business does not have an adverse impact on the environment.

Notifiable Activities - Environmental Protection Act 1994

If you become aware that a Notifiable activity is being carried out at a property, notice needs to be given to the Department of Envrionment and Science.  The Department maintains an Environmental Management Register of land which has been used for the following activities:

  • Abrasive blasting—carrying out abrasive blast cleaning
  • Aerial spraying—operating premises used for filling and washing out tanks used for aerial spraying; or washing aircraft used for aerial spraying.
  • Asbestos manufacture or disposal
  • Asphalt or bitumen manufacture
  • Battery manufacture or recycling—assembling, disassembling, manufacturing or recycling batteries (other than storing batteries for retail sale).
  • Chemical manufacture or formulation
  • Chemical storage
  • Coal-fired power station
  • Coal gas works
  • Drum reconditioning or recycling
  • Dry cleaning
  • Electrical transformers—manufacturing, repairing or disposing of electrical transformers.
  • Engine reconditioning works—carrying out engine reconditioning work at a place where more than 500L of defined substances are stored.
  • Explosives production or storage—operating an explosives factory under the Explosives Act 1999.
  • Fertiliser manufacturer—manufacturing agriculture fertiliser (other than the blending, formulation or mixing of fertiliser).
  • Foundry operations
  • Gun, pistol or rifle range
  • Herbicide or pesticide manufacture
  • Landfill—disposing of waste (excluding inert construction and demolition waste).
  • Lime burner—manufacturing cement or lime from limestone material using a kiln and storing wastes from the manufacturing process.
  • Livestock dip or spray race operations—operating a livestock dip or spray race facility.
  • Metal treatment or coating—treating or coating metal including, for example, anodising, galvanising, pickling, electroplating, heat treatment using cyanide compounds and spray painting using more than 5L of paint per week (other than spray painting within a fully enclosed booth).
  • Mine wastes
  • Mineral processing
  • Paint manufacture or formulation
  • Pest control—commercially operating premises, other than premises operated for farming crops or stock, where more than 200L of pesticide are stored; and filling or washing of tanks used in pest control operations occurs.
  • Petroleum or petrochemical industries including operating a petrol depot, terminal or refinery; or operating a facility for the recovery, reprocessing or recycling of petroleum-based materials.
  • Petroleum product or oil storage
  • Pharmaceutical manufacture
  • Printing
  • Railway yards
  • Scrap yards
  • Service stations
  • Smelting or refining
  • Tannery, fellmongery or hide curing
  • Waste storage, treatment or disposal—storing, treating, reprocessing or disposing of waste prescribed under a regulation to be regulated waste for this item (other than at the place it is generated), including operating a nightsoil disposal site or sewage treatment plant.
  • Wood treatment and preservation
For further information

For further information contact Council's Environmental Health Officer on 1300 ISAACS (1300 472 227).