Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

About waste management licences

About waste management licences

Do you need a waste management licence?

You may need a waste management licence if you:

  • operate a landfill
  • store other people's waste
  • treat waste, carry out recycling or use mobile plant
  • carry out final disposal of waste.

You may need a waste management licence if you carry out these activities on your land or use a vehicle or mobile plant such as a mobile incinerator.

You are unlikely to need a waste management licence if you only store waste that you produce and an authorised waste carrier removes it from your site regularly. You must check that anyone who handles your waste has the correct permit, licence or exemption.

Duty of care

What you must do if you hold a waste management licence

If you hold a waste management licence you must:

  • comply with all the conditions of your licence
  • comply with any formal notices issued by your environmental regulator
  • pay the annual subsistence charge
  • renew your licence when it expires if you wish to continue the waste activity.

Submit waste returns

If your waste management licence requires you to submit a waste return you will need to complete the relevant form on your environmental regulator's website.

Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA): Waste forms
SEPA: Licence permitted site data returns

Waste management licensing exemptions

Your activity may qualify for an exemption from waste management licensing. Whether you need a licence or need to register an exemption will depend on:

  • how long you store waste
  • the types and quantities of wastes that you handle, and
  • the activities carried out on your site.

If your activity is exempt, you may still need to register it with your environmental regulator. You will still need to comply with controls to prevent pollution and harm to human health.

You must check if you need to register an exemption.

Waste management licensing exemptions

Animal by-products and catering waste

If you collect, transport, store, handle, process or dispose of animal by-products or catering waste that is not intended for human consumption, you must also comply with the animal by-products regulations.

In this Guideline

About waste management licences

Waste management licensing exemptions

How do you apply for a waste management licence?

Transferring, modifying, varying and surrendering a waste management licence

Application forms and guidance for waste management licensing

Waste management licensing legislation

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NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms