Environmental Assessment Guidelines

Environmental Assessment Guidelines (EAGs) – formerly Guidance Statements – are issued by the EPA to provide advice to proponents and the public generally on the procedures and minimum environmental requirements that the EPA expects to be met during the environmental impact assessment process.

EAGs are not statutory documents. However, a proponent wishing to deviate from the minimum level of performance set out in an EAG would be expected to put a well-researched and clear justification to the EPA arguing the need for the deviation. An argument to deviate from the requirements in an EAG should demonstrate that all practicable endeavours have been made to meet the intent of the Guideline. EAGs and Guidance Statements remain current until the EPA decides otherwise.


Preparation of Management Plans under Part IV of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (EAG 17)
Summary:

The purpose of this Environmental Assessment Guideline (EAG) is to provide guidance to proponents on the content of management plans under Part IV of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (EP Act).

The EPA recognises that proponents prepare Environmental Management Plans (EMPs) to manage the environmental aspects of their proposals, which are required as part of their Environmental Management Systems.

The EPA also recognises that proponents may prepare EMPs to meet the needs of more than one regulator.

To avoid confusion, the management plans required under Part IV are referred to in this guidance as Part IV Condition Environmental Management Plans (Condition EMPs).

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has prepared EAG 17 to:

  • improve the environmental effectiveness of management plans; facilitate the regulatory processing of management plans;
  • help proponents prepare management plans more efficiently;
  • give proponents a clearer understanding of their obligations in implementing management plans; and
  • improve the readability of management plans for the public.

Information on the implementation of this guidance and of training and advice available for industry and consultants is on this website.

Templates for use by proponents in preparation of Condition Environmental Management Plans are provided on this website at http://www.epa.wa.gov.au/EIA/templates

A presentation "Training for Environmental Assessment Guideline 17" by Garry Middle and Angus Morrison-Saunders is available to download (pdf 2.68 Mb)


Status: Final
Release Date: 27 August 2015
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Joint Guidelines for Preparing Mine Closure Plans
Summary:

The mine closure guidelines have been prepared jointly by the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) and the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). They are a revision of the 2011 guidelines and aim to ensure Western Australian mines can be decommissioned, rehabilitated and closed in an ecologically sustainable way.

Key updates include making the mine closure plan requirements at each stage of a mining operation clearer, reflecting a risk-based approach, and clarifying the general structure and content of Mine Closure Plans.

To ensure continuous improvement, a review of the guidelines will be initiated within three years of the publication date of this version.


Status: Final
Release Date: 8 May 2015
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Environmental Assessment Guideline for Protecting the Quality of Western Australia’s Marine Environment (EAG 15)
Summary: This Environmental Assessment Guideline sets out the Environmental Protection Authority’s expectations for the management of marine environmental quality in WA and includes the lessons learnt from over ten years of implementation. The approaches contained within it are therefore not new, but have been tried and tested over time. The guidance is intended to impart consistency and clarity to the environmental impact assessment of development proposals and provide increased confidence, timeliness and efficiency to the environmental assessment process associated with wastewater discharges to marine waters. It will also facilitate and support other activities such as discharge regulation, the environmental management of ports and marinas, and environmental quality management in marine parks and reserves.
Status: Final
Release Date: 31 March 2015
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Referral of a proposal under s38 of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (EAG 16)
Summary:

The referral of a proposal for consideration by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is the first formal step in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process. Section 38 of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (EP Act) makes provision for the referral to the EPA of proposals by a proponent, a decision-making authority (DMA), or any other person (referred to as a third party referrer).

The purpose of this Environmental Assessment Guideline (EAG) is to provide guidance on the process and information requirements of referring a proposal under s38 of the EP Act, using the referral form developed by the EPA.


Status: Final
Release Date: 23 January 2015
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Preparation of an API – Category A Environmental Review Document (EAG 14)
Summary:

This Environmental Assessment Guideline addresses the preparation of an environmental review document for an Assessment on Proponent Information (Category A) (API – Category A) level of assessment. The purpose is to convey, primarily to proponents and consultants, the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) expectations regarding the content and form of the environmental review document and the process that will be followed.

The guideline provides a detailed explanation of the assessment process including the EPA’s preference that proponents prepare an adequate environmental review document pre-referral. It also provides a template which describes exactly what the EPA expects of the content of an API – Category A environmental review document.

The guideline also describes how the environmental review document can meet the requirements for assessment of proposals under the bilateral agreement between the State of Western Australia (WA) and the Commonwealth of Australia (Commonwealth) under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) relating to environmental assessment (Bilateral Agreement). By following this guideline, proponents should be able to prepare an environmental review document that satisfies the requirements of the Bilateral Agreement and enables the EPA to conduct its assessment in accordance with the Bilateral Agreement.


Status: Final
Release Date: 19 January 2015
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Consideration of environmental impacts from noise (EAG13)
Summary:

This Environmental Assessment Guideline has been developed to assist proponents in understanding how the EPA considers the impacts from noise emissions throughout the environmental impact assessment process under Part IV of the Environmental Protection Act 1986.

The EPA expects proponents and decision-making authorities to use this guideline to assist in determining whether a proposal should be referred to the EPA on impacts from noise alone, and whether a detailed noise assessment of potential impacts may be required. It is a clear expectation of the EPA that all proponents will use their best endeavours to comply with the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 or State Planning Policy 5.4 Road and Rail Transport Noise and Freight Considerations in Land Use Planning or another accepted standard, as relevant and applicable.

The purpose of this guidance is:

  • to assist proponents to predict whether their proposal’s noise emissions may cause significant environmental impacts
  • to communicate how the potential impacts of noise are considered by the EPA and may be assessed in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process; and
  • to direct proponents to the appropriate regulatory standards and technical guidance material.

This guidance does not address noise impacts on terrestrial or marine fauna.


Status: Final
Release Date: 18 September 2014
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Recommending environmental conditions (EAG 11)
Summary:

When the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) recommends to the Minister for Environment that implementation of a proposal be allowed it may also recommend conditions that should be applied.

The purpose of this Environmental Assessment Guideline is to:

  1. describe the EPA’s approach to preparing recommended proposal implementation conditions;
  2. provide guidance to proponents on the types of conditions that may be applied to their proposal; and
  3. reaffirm the importance of the assessment process in providing the EPA confidence that its objectives will be met and, in providing this confidence, also providing for concise outcome-based conditions.

This guideline was developed to ensure that proposal implementation conditions recommended by the EPA are: relevant to and effective in meeting the EPA’s environmental objectives; consistent in form and language; readily assessed for compliance; enforceable; and improved from lessons learned over time. 

The approach to conditions described in this guideline provides for various types of conditions to be developed while continuing to favour outcome-based conditions. Consistency is supported through the application of a limited number of defined condition types. In applying the different types of conditions, the EPA recognises the need for careful drafting, particularly for outcome-based conditions where the manner of how the outcome is achieved is absent from the condition.

The conditions described in this guideline apply to the preparation of proposal-specific implementation conditions as distinct from the standard conditions that address the matters of: proposal implementation; proponent contact details; time limit for proposal implementation; compliance reporting; and public availability of post-assessment information. Those standard conditions remain relevant and will be consistently recommended by the EPA for most proposals.

First published September 2013. Revised August 2015.


Status: Final
Release Date: 13 September 2013
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Scoping a proposal (EAG 10)
Summary:

The Environmental Protection Act 1986 provides that the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) determines the form, content, timing and procedure for the environmental review of a proposal. For proposals assessed at the level of Public Environmental Review, the EPA undertakes this task through the endorsement of an Environmental Scoping Document (ESD).

This Environmental Assessment Guideline addresses the preparation of ESDs. Its purpose is to convey, primarily to proponents and consultants, the EPA’s expectations regarding the content and form of an ESD and the process that will be followed in preparing an ESD, including the roles and responsibilities of the various parties to this process.

Clear and concise ESDs that focus on the most important environmental factors for a proposal will support an effective and efficient environmental impact assessment process.


Status: Final
Release Date: 26 August 2013
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Consideration of subterranean fauna in environmental impact assessment in Western Australia (EAG 12)
Summary:

This EAG sets out the EPA’s preferred approach for the consideration of subterranean fauna in environmental impact assessment. It aims to ensure that the standard of survey and type of information provided to the EPA have a sound scientific basis to enable it to understand impacts.

The guidance recommends the use of surrogates, where survey alone has not provided sufficient evidence to determine distribution, to assist in predictions of impact.

Draft Guidance Statement 54a Sampling Methods and Survey Considerations for Subterranean Fauna in Western Australia should still be used to provide information on sampling techniques.

Related document: A review of subterranean fauna assessment in Western Australia - Discussion paper (pdf 0.98 Mb)

A review of subterranean fauna assessment in Western Australia summarises developments in subterranean fauna science, how the EPA’s assessment of subterranean fauna has changed over time, concerns with current EPA guidance statements, and provides some options for the future direction of subterranean fauna assessment. The EPA invited comments on the discussion paper in March 2012. The feedback contributed to the development of EAG 12.


Status: Final
Release Date: 30 June 2013
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Application of a significance framework in the environmental impact assessment process (EAG 9)
Summary:

The purpose of this guideline is to describe how the EPA makes decisions, throughout the entire environmental impact assessment (EIA) process, on the likely significance of impacts of a proposal, using a risk based approach.

This guideline applies to the EPA’s assessment of proposals, and to consideration of proposed amendments to conditions2. The approach also applies conceptually to the EPA’s consideration of scheme and scheme amendments, however the process and language of this guideline refers to proposals only.

This EAG is considered to be a framework document in that it applies to the entire EIA process, and is supported by other more detailed guidance on specific aspects or stages of EIA.

First published June 2013. Revised January 2015.


Status: Final
Release Date: 10 June 2013
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Environmental principles, factors and objectives (EAG 8)
Summary:

The purpose of this Environmental Assessment Guideline is to:

  • communicate the EPA’s environmental principles, factors and associated environmental objectives;
  • describe the EPA’s framework for environmental principles, factors and objectives and how they link to EPA guidance; and
  • outline the EPA’s expectations for applying environmental principles, factors, objectives and guidance through environmental impact assessment.

This EAG applies to the EPA’s consideration of proposals, schemes, and changes to implementation conditions under Part IV of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (the Act).

This guideline complements EAG 9 Environmental Assessment Guideline on the Environmental Impact Assessment Framework which describes the EPA’s decision framework for determining environmental acceptability.

Appendix 1 in EAG 16 provides examples of issues and aspects of proposals which are potential sources of impact to the environment, and how they align with the EPA’s environmental factors.

First published June 2013. Revised January 2015.


Status: Final
Release Date: 10 June 2013
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Defining the key characteristics of a proposal (EAG1)
Summary:

This Guideline focuses on how to define the Key Proposal Characteristics of proposals for the purposes of assessing the proposal and incorporation in the Ministerial Approval Statement. The objective of this Guideline is to assist proponents to identify and provide the Key Proposal Characteristics that capture all key features of the proposal relevant to the Environmental Protection Act 1986.

The Guideline will help proponents understand the need for a broader contextual description and information about the proposal characteristics at various stages of the EIA process and how this differs from the Key Proposal Characteristics. Having a clear understanding of the Key Proposal Characteristics for which the proponent is seeking approval is a fundamental starting point for engaging in the EIA process.


Status: Draft
Release Date: 25 May 2012
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Environmental Assessment Guideline for Marine Dredging Proposals (EAG7)
Summary: This EAG sets out the preferred approach for presenting impacts of dredging proposals that are subject to formal environmental impact assessment. It aims to ensure that predictions presented to the EPA have a sound scientific basis, take the range of likely impacts into account and are used to develop environmental monitoring and management strategies.
Status: Final
Release Date: 23 September 2011
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Changes to Proposals after Assessment - Section 45C of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (EAG2)
Summary:

This Guideline specifically addresses the scope and use of section 45C of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 EP Act. The Guideline sets out:
(a) when section 45C can be used for approving changes to a proposal after assessment; and
(b) information required from proponents to enable the consideration and, if appropriate, approval of proposed changes to a proposal.

Download the checklist as a Word document here.

First published August 2011. Minor revisions March 2015.
Status: Final
Release Date: 26 August 2011
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Timelines for Environmental Impact Assessment of Proposals (EAG6)
Summary:

The EPA has developed this EAG in recognition of the need for guidance on the assessment process and associated timelines to provide certainty to all stakeholders, particularly proponents, in relation to the EIA process.

This guideline was updated in March 2013 to be consistent with the 2012 administrative procedures.


Status: Final
Release Date: 26 November 2010
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Environmental Assessment Guideline for protecting marine turtles from light impacts (EAG5)
Summary: This EAG specifically addresses approaches to proposal design and implementation to protect marine turtles from the adverse impacts of light. This EAG sets out:
(a) guidance on an array of approaches available for avoiding, reducing, managing and mitigating light impacts on marine turtles to be considered when preparing documentation relevant to the EIA process and during the implementation of proposals or planning schemes;
and
(b) alternative methods for the avoidance and management of light impacts that can be applied using a risk-based approach and by applying best practice methods.
Status: Final
Release Date: 1 November 2010
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Environmental Assessment Guidelines for Protection of Benthic Primary Producer Habitat in Western Australia's Marine Environment (EAG3)
Summary: The EPA has developed this Environmental Assessment Guideline in recognition of the fundamental ecological importance of Benthic Primary Producer Habitats and the potential consequences of their loss for marine ecological integrity, and also the fact that almost all marine development proposals will result in some loss of these important habitats. For the purposes of this Environmental Assessment Guideline, Benthic Primary Producer Habitats are defined as seabed communities within which algae e.g. macroalgae, turf and benthic microalgae, seagrass, mangroves, corals or mixtures of these groups are prominent components. This document has the status of "Final" which means it has been reviewed by stakeholders and the public and supersedes Guidance Statement No.29 June 2004 and previous draft revised versions of that document.
Status: Final
Release Date: 1 December 2009
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