Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Waste carriers' responsibilities

Waste carriers' responsibilities

Northern Ireland

If you want to transport controlled waste, you must register as a waste carrier with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and comply with your duty of care. In Northern Ireland there is a two-tier registration system for waste carriers.

Upper tier registrations are valid for three years, unless your registration is revoked or withdrawn. Lower tier registration is currently free and lasts indefinitely, unless your registration is revoked or withdrawn. You can apply for registration as a:

  • waste carrier and dealer
  • waste carrier and broker.

You can get application forms to register from the NIEA.

DAERA: Waste carrier information and application forms

If you are not sure whether you need to register, you should check with the NIEA.

Contact your environmental regulator

Scotland

If you want to transport controlled waste, you must register as a waste carrier with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and comply with your duty of care. If you normally and regularly transport waste produced by your own business, you must register with SEPA as a professional collector or transporter of waste.

You only need a single registration to cover you to carry waste throughout England, Scotland and Wales. To work out if you need to register see the page in this guideline: Waste carriers - Who needs to register?

Waste carrier registrations are valid for three years. It is free to register as a professional collector and transporter of waste, and your registration lasts indefinitely unless it is revoked or withdrawn.

You can get application forms to register from the SEPA.

SEPA: Waste carrier information and application forms

If you are not sure whether you need to register, you should check with SEPA.

Contact your environmental regulator

Northern Ireland and Scotland

Comply with your duty of care

You are responsible for making sure that the waste you carry is handled safely and legally. You must make sure that you only pass waste to someone who is authorised to take it. If you do not check and keep proof of this you could be held responsible if your waste is disposed of illegally - for example, by fly-tipping. See the page on checking your waste is dealt with correctly in our guideline: Duty of care - your waste responsibilities.

In Scotland from 01 January 2014, and in Northern Ireland from 1 January 2015, there are additional new requirements that waste carriers must comply with. If you are a business that provides a waste collection service you must:

  • Apply the waste hierarchy as a priority to all waste that you collect. You must ensure that recycling services are designed to promote high quality recycling.
  • Collect and carry dry recyclables that have been presented separately by your customer.
  • Ensure that recyclable materials are not mixed with other wastes in a manner that may hamper recycling while you are the holder.

Further information can be found on the Scottish Government website:

DAERA: Duty of Care Code of Practice for Northern Ireland

Scottish Government: Duty of Care – A Code of Practice

Make sure all waste carriers, brokers and dealers you pass waste on to are registered or exempt.

Contact DAERA Registration of Carriers team

SEPA: Who is registered?

Use waste transfer or consignment notes

Whenever you accept waste from someone, or pass waste to someone, you must ensure that the transfer is covered by a waste transfer note (WTN). If the waste is classified as hazardous waste, you must complete a consignment note. You must keep copies of waste transfer notes for two years and consignment notes for three years.

See the page on completing waste transfer notes in our guideline: Duty of care - your waste responsibilities.

See the page on moving and transferring hazardous waste in our guideline: Hazardous/special waste

Good practice

When you accept waste, ensure it is packaged correctly. If it isn't, ask the producer to repack it. Do not accept waste in leaking containers. Inspect waste when you accept it to check that the waste description on the waste transfer note is accurate.

Take your waste to a site with a suitable and valid pollution prevention and control permit, waste management licence or appropriate exemption. Make sure the site is authorised to receive your particular waste types. You should always ask the site manager to show you the original documents. Ask for a photocopy for your records.

If you suspect that the waste you are carrying has been handled illegally at any stage, report the possible offence to the NIEA or SEPA.

Further information

DAERA: Waste carriers and brokers information

SEPA: Waste carriers and brokers information

Return to Waste carriers, brokers and dealers landing page

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Permits

NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms