Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Moving and transferring hazardous/special waste

Moving and transferring hazardous/special waste

All businesses that produce waste have a duty of care to make sure that it is handled safely and transported in compliance with the law. If the waste is hazardous/special, extra controls apply.

Moving hazardous/special waste

Make sure all hazardous/special waste is:

  • transported by a registered or exempt waste carrier
  • accompanied by a consignment note (there are only a few exceptions where consignment notes are not required)
  • sent to a facility that holds a suitable pollution prevention and control permit, waste management licence or a registered exemption that authorises them to take that type of waste for the activity they intend.

You can contact the NIEA to check if your carrier is registered or has an exemption.

NIEA Waste carriers information contact details

DAERA: Waste Management Licensing Public Register

In Scotland, check that your carrier is registered or has an exemption by contacting SEPA. You can also see a list of registered waste carriers online:

SEPA: A list of registered waste carriers (Scotland)

Zero Waste Scotland: Business resource centre (Scotland)

Before moving hazardous/special waste, you should evaluate the recycling, recovery and disposal options available for the waste you produce.

Pre-notify your environmental regulator

In Northern Ireland, you must pre-notify the NIEA at least 72 hours and not more than one month before any hazardous waste leaves your site. You do this by filling in a consignment note

In Scotland, you must pre-notify SEPA before special waste leaves your site if it is a single movement of waste or the first in a series of movements. You do this by completing parts A and B of the pre-notification sheet of a consignment note. The pre-notification sheet must be delivered to SEPA at least 72 hours and not more than one month before special waste is moved within Scotland, or imported into Scotland from England or Wales.

Some hazardous/special waste movements are exempt from pre-notification. The exemption will apply to you if:

  • you regularly produce and transport the same type of waste to the same disposal or recovery facility - you only need to pre-notify your environmental regulator (NIEA or SEPA) of the first consignment in any one year, provided you refer to the number of the initial pre-notification in all consignment notes
  • your business operates on a number of sites, and you transport your hazardous/special waste to a site that you own that holds a suitable licence, permit or exemption to receive the waste
  • you return faulty products or materials as hazardous/special waste to the supplier or manufacturer
  • your consignment only contains lead-acid vehicle batteries.

Movements of hazardous/special wastes that are exempt from pre-notification must still be accompanied by a consignment note.

Use consignment notes when moving hazardous/special waste

When you move hazardous/special waste from your premises it must be accompanied by a consignment note. This includes moving it to any other site that you may operate. The waste must be accompanied by a consignment note until it reaches its final destination. You need to use one consignement note per vehicle. You must keep a copy of all consignment notes for three years. There are only a very few exceptions where consignment notes are not needed.

Your waste carrier can use single or multiple collection forms. In Scotland, when waste is picked up from more than one producer you need to use a carrier's schedule, which you can get from SEPA.

Your consignment note must include a unique code.

In Northern Ireland you can buy consignment notes and unique codes from the NIEA.

In Scotland you can obtain consignment notes and unique codes from SEPA.

SEPA: Order consignment notes online

NIEA: Guide to completing the paperwork for hazardous waste movements (Northern Ireland) (PDF, 440K)

In Northern Ireland, you will have to include new information on your consignment notes to declare that you have applied the waste management hierarchy for dealing with your waste. This means you must take all practicable steps to reuse or recycle your waste before deciding to dispose of it.

See the page on choosing a waste management option in our guideline: Reduce, reuse and recycle your business waste

SEPA: Guide to consigning special waste (Scotland) (PDF, 1.4MB)

Waste Thesaurus: SEPA guidance for coding waste An alphabetical list of waste types with their corresponding EWC codes.

Cross-border movements of hazardous/special waste

All hazardous waste produced within Northern Ireland or Scotland must be consigned using a consignment note or number issued by the NIEA in Northern Ireland or SEPA in Scotland, regardless of its final destination within the UK.

If you export hazardous/ special waste from Northern Ireland or Scotland, to England or Wales, the site which receives the waste must send a completed deposit note to the NIEA for Northern Ireland, or SEPA for Scotland.

If you export hazardous waste from Northern Ireland to Scotland, the site which receives the waste must send a completed deposit note to their local SEPA office. SEPA will then forward a copy of the note to the NIEA.

If you export special waste from Scotland to Northern Ireland, the site which receives the waste must send a completed deposit note to the local NIEA office, which will then forward a copy of the note to SEPA.

Meet carriage of dangerous goods requirements

If you transport hazardous/special waste you must comply with controls on the carriage of dangerous goods.

Health & Safety Executive (HSE): Carriage of dangerous goods

Further information

DAERA: Waste Management Licensing Public Register (Northern Ireland)

NIEA: Authorised waste carrier register (Northern Ireland)

Find licensed waste sites

SEPA: A list of authorised waste carriers (Scotland)

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