Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
Burning waste controls
Burning waste is usually an environmentally poor option because of the risk of air pollution and the loss of potential resources. You should use other methods of waste management wherever possible. However, it may be appropriate if you can't find an alternative way to dispose of your waste, or if the waste is an efficient fuel.
In most cases, burning waste is forbidden or requires a pollution prevention and control permit, waste management licence or a registered waste exemption before you carry out the burning. See the NetRegs Environmental Topic Waste incineration.
If you have a permit or licence you must comply with all of its conditions.
If you have a waste exemption you must comply with the relevant conditions to ensure that waste is recovered or disposed of without endangering human health or causing harm to the environment. In particular, you must not:
Burning materials such as plastics, rubber or MDF (medium-density fibreboard) can emit particularly polluting 'dark smoke' and toxic fumes. Whether your activities require a permit or not, you must not create dark smoke. See the page in this guideline Dark smoke restrictions.
If you are in any doubt about what you are allowed to burn, contact:
SEPA Special Waste Consignment Notes – updated position, The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is now accepting special waste consignment notes (SWCNs) by email only.
DAERA Waste Policy Tracker, The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs has published a Waste policy tracker to stay informed of waste policy developments.
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