Environmentally relevant activities

Council regulates some environmentally relevant activities under the Environmental Protection Act 1994. These activities are:

  • asphalt manufacturing
  • plastic product manufacturing
  • metal forming
  • surface coating
  • boat maintenance and repair.

Operators of these activities must hold an environmental authority.

If you are starting a new environmentally relevant activity (ERA), taking over, or making changes to an existing ERA, you will need to consider planning, building, and plumbing approvals.

Note: applicants need to submit a development application, an application for environmental authority and register as a suitable operator.

Do I need an environmental authority?

A business that conducts any of the following activities requires an environmental authority from Council:

  • ERA 6: Asphalt manufacturing
  • ERA 12: Plastic product manufacturing (50 tonne or more of plastic products per year; or 5 tonnes or more of foam, composite plastics, or rigid fibre-reinforced plastics per year)
  • ERA 19: Metal forming (10,000 tonnes or more per year)
  • ERA 38: Surface coating (anodising, electroplating, enameling, or galvanising using 1 tonne to 100 tonnes of surface coating materials in a year)
  • ERA 49: Boat maintenance or repair.

A full list of ERAs, including those that need approval from State Government, can be found under Schedule 2 of the Environmental Protection Regulation 2019.

If you are unsure if your business requires an environmental authority, contact Council.

Check if other approvals are required

Before starting any environmentally relevant activity check if other approvals are required.

Planning, building or plumbing approval

Planning approval

The Planning Act 2016 applies to all new ERAs administered by Council. A material change of use development application may need to be submitted to Council. 

To find out if you need to submit a development application, you can:

  • lodge an enquiry with Council
  • arrange a pre-lodgement meeting with Council
  • engage a town planning consultant registered with the Planning Institute of Australia
  • self-assess your property details against Council’s planning scheme

For further information, visit Planning and Development or contact Council.

Building approval

Building work for an ERA may include:

  • constructing a new spray booth
  • replacing an underground fuel tank. 

To find out if you need building approval, you can:

Plumbing approval

Environmentally relevant activities (ERAs) may need plumbing and drainage approvals for the below:

  • installation of sinks
  • release of trade waste to sewer
  • installation and maintenance of backflow prevention devices
  • use of non-reticulated water supply (tank water). 

Plumbing and drainage work should be conducted by a licensed plumber. 

Contact Council or Unitywater for more information.

Trade waste consent

Trade waste is liquid waste produced by a business.  All businesses require consent from Unitywater to release trade waste to the sewer.

ERAs may need pre-treatment and/or monitoring equipment before being released to the sewer. Examples of such equipment include separators, interceptors, grease traps, in-sink or in-drain baskets.  

Contact Council or Unitywater for more information.

How to apply for an environmental authority 

You must be registered as a suitable operator to hold an environmental authority registration.

The DES maintains a register of suitable operators for ERAs, check to see if you are already registered.

If you have not previously registered, you must complete an application and submit it to DES for assessment.

Application process

Prepare your application

To prepare your application:

Refer to the steps below to submit your application. 

Submit your application to Council

  1. Sign into MBRC Online Services
  2. Go to "Enquiries"
  3. Find "Environmentally Relevant Activity/s (not requiring a Material Change of Use)" and select "Start" to begin the process.

You are responsible for ensuring the development application is complete. For more information on the development application process for ERAs, visit the Business Queensland website.

Change of ownership

This process is for taking over an ERA with existing planning approval and environmental authority.

You cannot move or transfer an existing planning approval or environmental authority to a new site. However, an environmental authority can be transferred to another person/entity at the same location.

You may apply to Council for a search for information on current environmental authority registration/s and the conditions of approval. This process may require written permission from the vendor.

  • Register as suitable operator with DES.
  • Submit an environmental authority application to Council using the approved form. You are responsible for ensuring the application is complete.

Application forms

Development application

The Queensland Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning maintain an online library of application forms.

Use these forms to complete a development application for an ERA:

  • DA Form 1 - Development applications details
  • Development application Form 1 - Application details - attachment for an application for an environmental authority.

Additional development application forms may be required depending on Council's planning scheme.

Environmental authority application

To apply for an environmental authority, the Environmentally Relevant Activity - Environmental Authority Application form must be submitted to Council. 

Change conditions of an existing ERA

To request a change to the conditions of your planning approval, you need to complete and submit a change application form available from Queensland's Planning System:

To request a change to the conditions of the environmental authority, you need to complete and submit an amendment application form available from Council. 

Supporting documents

Plans are required with the development application. Plans should be readable at A3 size and show all dimensions, heights, and setbacks from boundaries.

Include details such as:

  • site plans showing all boundaries, natural features and proposed development, including the location and use of buildings on both the proposed land and the adjoining land, the location of car parks and areas to be landscaped
  • all elevations (north, south, east, and west) with natural ground levels (on Australian Height Datum (ADH) where the property is affected by flooding) and relative finished levels
  • floor plans for each level of the development, showing both the existing and proposed development along with existing and proposed gross floor area (GFA) calculations
  • for subdivision, a proposed plan of subdivision showing all:
    • existing and proposed allotments, including the intended use of all proposed lots
    • existing and new roads, easements, parks, waterway corridors
    • other environmental considerations.

A qualified design consultant should prepare the plans.