Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Waste exemptions for wood and wood products

Waste exemptions for wood and wood products

You may need to register an exemption with your environmental regulator from waste management licensing if you carry out an exempt waste management activity

Some exemptions do not need to be registered although you must comply with the exemption's conditions.

Activities exempt from waste management licensing

Some waste management activities involving the use of waste wood from processing non-virgin timbers are exempt.

Exempt waste management activities which may be relevant to your business include:

Exemption reference
Exempt waste activity or operation Northern Ireland Scotland
Composting untreated waste wood. Paragraph 13
Must be registered.
Paragraph 12
Must be registered.
Using untreated waste wood as mulch. Paragraph 9
Must be registered.
No exemption needed.
Spreading waste wood for benefit on the site where it is produced. For example to suppress weeds or provide nutrients to the soil. Paragraph 9
Must be registered.
No exemption needed.
Burning some waste wood or bark as a fuel in a small appliance in certain cases. Paragraph 5
Must be registered.
Paragraph 5
Must be registered.
Using waste for a specific purpose, for example wood shavings, woodchip and sawdust as animal bedding. Paragraph 16
Must be registered.
Paragraph 15
Must be registered.
Using waste wood or bark to make products. Paragraph 15
Must be registered.
Paragraph 14
Must be registered.
Chipping, shredding, cutting or pulverising waste wood or bark. Paragraph 21
Must be registered.
Paragraph 21
Must be registered.
Burning untreated wood waste in the open. Paragraph 30
Must be registered.
Paragraph 30
Must be registered.
Storing any waste (non-hazardous or hazardous/special) temporarily on the site where it is produced in a secure place for no longer than 12 months. Paragraph 41
There are quantity limits for storing hazardous waste.
No need to register.
Paragraph 41
There are quantity limits for storing special waste.
No need to register.
Burning as a fuel, under a permit granted under the PPC regulations, of straw, poultry litter or wood (at less than 1 tonne per hour in Northern Ireland) (eg biomass boilers) Paragraph 5 Paragraph 3
Burning some waste wood or bark as a fuel in a small appliance in certain cases Paragraph 5 Paragraph 5

 

You must check whether your registered exemption needs to be renewed. Some registered exemptions last for as long as the activity is carried out while others may only last for 12 months.

If you are not sure whether your waste operation or waste management activity is covered by an exemption contact your environmental regulator for further advice.

Contact your environmental regulator

Position statements

Wood waste regulatory position statement

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) has produced guidance on when they consider wood to be a waste and what regulatory controls should be followed.

NIEA: Environmental regulation of wood position statement

Wood produced from processing virgin timbers, such as off-cuts and sawdust from sawmilling or wood product manufacturing, are not considered to be waste if they are used for common purposes including:

  • woodchip in gardens or on pathways
  • a raw material for composting
  • animal bedding
  • fuel in an appliance
  • a raw material for the production of wood-based products or in paper production
  • If you mix virgin timber, including any materials produced from processing it, with other waste wood or any other waste, the mixed load will be waste and certain waste responsibilities will apply.

Your waste responsibilities

Good practice

Separate wood waste and wood-based materials into virgin wood and waste wood at the point of production. This will help you to reduce regulatory controls that apply to mixed loads.

Contact the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) who can give you more information on local businesses or organisations that can use wood-based materials in a manufacturing or recycling process.

WRAP: PAS 111 Processing waste wood

WRAP: RecycleWood – the sustainable wood information service

Materials produced from virgin timber processing could be burned to produce energy. Depending on its previous use and contaminant content, waste wood could also be burned as a fuel.

You should check whether you need a permit or licence or need to register an exemption to burn wood as fuel.

Energy and steam generation

Find a wood recycler near your site from the Wood Recyclers Association.

Wood Recyclers Association

Further information on waste exemptions

NIEA: Activities exempt from waste management licensing

SEPA: Activities exempt from waste management licensing

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