Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Exemptions for burning waste

What you must do

You must have the correct permissions in place before you burn waste. If you burn waste as a fuel or for disposal you may need a pollution prevention and control (PPC) permit or waste management licence from your environmental regulator. However, depending on the type and quantity of waste that you burn, and your method of burning, you may qualify for an exemption from waste management licensing.

Waste exemptions are for specific low risk waste activities and so have fewer controls placed on them compared with permits and licences. You may need to register waste exemptions with your environmental regulator.

If you have a waste exemption, you must comply with all of the exemption objectives. You must also ensure that your activity does not:

  • endanger human health or risk harm to water, air or soil
  • risk harm to plants or animals
  • cause a noise or odour nuisance
  • adversely affect the countryside or places of special interest

Contact your environmental regulator

Exemption for burning waste in the open

You may qualify for an exemption to burn certain plant tissue and untreated wood in the open if:

  • you burn the waste at the place where it was produced
  • you burn no more than 10 tonnes in a 24-hour period.

See the page in this guideline: Controls on burning waste in the open.

Exemption for burning waste in an incinerator

You may qualify for an exemption to burn certain plant tissue and untreated wood in an incinerator or a waste combustion plant that is exempt or excluded from the Waste Incineration Directive (WID) if:

  • you burn the waste at the place where it was produced
  • the incinerator has a capacity of less than 50 kilograms per hour
  • In Northern Ireland the waste combustion plant has a total net rated thermal input of less than 0.3 megawatts

This is a paragraph 29 exemption.

NIEA: Paragraph 29 exemption for burning waste in an incinerator

SEPA: Waste management licensing exemptions

Exemption for burning waste in a small appliance

You may qualify for an exemption to burn certain waste as a fuel in a small appliance:

  • in Northern Ireland if you burn less than 1 tonne of waste as fuel per hour and the appliance has a relevant PPC permit.
  • in Scotland if the appliance has a total net rated value of less than 0.4 megawatts.

This is a paragraph 5 exemption.

NIEA: Paragraph 5 exemption for burning of waste as a fuel

SEPA: Waste management licensing exemptions

Exclusions from the WID

There are some exclusions from the WID. See the page in this guideline on requirements of the Waste Incineration Directive.

Return to Burning waste

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Permits

NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms