Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Waste exemptions for landscaping

Waste exemptions for landscaping

What you must do

If you keep, treat or dispose of waste you must have a waste management licence from your environmental regulator.

You may be able to register an exemption from the need to have a waste management licence for certain activities. If you operate under an exemption you must still ensure that your activity does not:

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

There are over 60 exemptions from the need for a waste management licence.

Exemptions relevant to landscaping

You may be able to chip, shred, cut or pulverise waste plant matter for recovery or reuse but the quantity of waste that is dealt with in any seven-day period or quantity stored at any one time must not exceed 1,000 tonnes.

You may be able to burn wood, bark or other plant matter on the site where the waste was produced if you burn less than 10 tonnes in 24 hours. You must not produce dark smoke.

You may be able to spread biodegradable wastes and soil from gardens and parks to agricultural land as long as it provides agricultural or ecological improvement to the land. You may also be able to spread these wastes on certain non-agricultural land, such as woodland, parks, gardens, verges, landscaped areas, sports or recreation grounds, as long as it provides ecological improvement.

If you have an exemption, you must comply with the exemption conditions.

Further information

NIEA: Waste management licensing

SEPA: Activities exempt from waste management licensing

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NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms