Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Waste carriers - Who needs to register

Waste carriers - Who needs to register

If you want to transport other people's controlled waste, or your own construction and demolition waste, you must register with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) or the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) as a waste carrier. Controlled waste includes commercial, industrial and household waste, as well as hazardous waste. Most radioactive wastes and explosive wastes are controlled by other regulations.

Radioactive substances and waste

All businesses can register as waste carriers including self-employed individuals, partnerships, companies or other types of organisation. You need to register even if carrying waste is not your main business activity or if you only carry waste occasionally.

If you do not register and you carry waste, you could be prosecuted.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland there is a two-tier registration system for waste carriers.

Upper tier waste carriers

If you transport other people's controlled waste, or your own construction or demolition waste, you must register as an upper tier waste carrier unless you fall into one of the categories for lower tier waste carriers.

Lower tier waste carriers

You must register as a lower tier carrier if you only carry:

  • animal by-products
  • waste from mines and quarries
  • waste from agricultural premises.

You will also need to register as a lower tier carrier if you carry waste, and are:

  • a waste collection, disposal or regulation authority
  • a charity or voluntary organisation.

Lower tier carriers are also known as 'specified persons'.

You will also need to register as a lower tier carrier if you normally and regularly carry controlled waste produced by your own business.

Exemptions and exclusions from waste carrier registration in Northern Ireland

You do not need to register as a waste carrier if you:

  • move waste between different places on your own site
  • export waste by sea or air from the UK to outside the UK (however, you will need to register to transport waste to the port or airport)
  • import waste from outside the UK into the UK, and the waste is landed in its final location (however, you will need to register to transport the waste anywhere by land, eg by train or lorry)
  • are a ferry operator transporting waste-carrying vehicles
  • operate vessels, aircraft, hovercraft, marine structures, floating containers or vehicles that carry waste and have a marine licence or marine licence exemption.

DAERA: Registration of Carriers Application Forms

Scotland

Register as a professional collector and transporter of waste

You must register as a professional collector and transporter of waste, rather than a waste carrier, if you only transport:

  • animal by-products
  • waste from mines and quarries
  • waste from agricultural premises.

If you also carry other types of waste, or mix these types of waste with other waste, you must register as a waste carrier.

You must register as a professional collector and transporter of waste, if you carry waste and are a:

  • waste collection, disposal or regulation authority
  • charity or voluntary organisation
  • business that regularly transports its own waste (unless it is construction and demolition waste).

It is free to register as a professional collector and transporter of waste, and your registration lasts indefinitely unless it is revoked or withdrawn.

It is a new requirement for businesses who regularly transport their own waste to register. You can register online at:

SEPA: Application forms

You can also download the application form to register as a professional collector or transporter from the SEPA website.

SEPA: Application to register as a professional collector (PDF, 54K)

You can get advice from your local SEPA office on any exemptions that may apply to you.

Exemptions and exclusions from waste carrier registration in Scotland

You do not need to register as a waste carrier if you:

  • export waste by sea or air from the UK to outside the UK (however, you will need to register to transport waste to the port or airport)
  • import waste from outside the UK into the UK, and the waste is landed in its final location (however, you will need to register to transport the waste anywhere by land, eg by train or lorry)
  • are a ferry operator transporting waste-carrying vehicles
  • are an operator of vessels, aircraft, hovercraft, marine structures, floating containers or vehicles that are used to dispose of waste at sea
  • only transport animal by-product waste - including catering waste
  • only transport mining, quarrying or farming waste
  • are a charity or voluntary organisation
  • are a waste collection authority, waste disposal authority or waste regulation authority.

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