Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
Some waste management activities are exempt from waste management licensing. For example, treating and storing some types of waste.
If you carry out these activities you do not need a waste management licence. However, in most cases, you must register your exempt activity with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) or SEPA.
You must check with your environmental regulator if you need to register an exemption.
If you carry out activities controlled under other regulations you may also be exempt from waste management licensing.
If you don't need a waste management licence, you should check if you need a pollution prevention and control (PPC) permit for your waste activities.
If you are unsure if you need a waste management licence or an exemption, contact the NIEA or SEPA.
There are two types of waste management licensing exemptions: simple exemptions and complex exemptions.
Most waste management licensing exemptions have limits on the type and quantity of the waste you can treat or store and how long you can store it.
Exemptions are named according to the paragraph number of the regulation that creates them. For example, the exemption that allows you to compost your own biodegradable waste is called a paragraph 12 exemption.
Most activities exempt from waste management licensing are covered by simple exemptions. They include:
To carry out an activity covered by a simple exemption you usually need to register with the NIEA or SEPA.
In Northern Ireland you can register a simple waste exemtion online.
In Scotland you can register simple exemptions online.
You can also register by downloading the notification form and sending it to SEPA.
Activities covered by complex exemptions include:
To carry out an activity covered by a complex exemption you must register with the NIEA or SEPA and pay a registration fee 21 days before you start the activity.
In Northern Ireland the NIEA will tell you whether your exemption will last for one or three years.
In Scotland you must renew the exemption annually.
To register or renew a complex waste management licensing exemption download the correct form and send it to your environmental regulator.
You must register most exempt activities with your environmental regulator.
If you have a waste management licensing exemption, whether it is registered or not, you must:
You must comply with any conditions set out in your exemption. Conditions will vary according to the type of waste you have and the activity you carry out. Typically, conditions will include limits on the amount of waste you handle and how long you can carry out the activity.
See the SEPA list of waste types with the exemptions that relate to them.
If you are unsure whether your activity is covered by an exemption from waste management licensing, or if you need to register an exemption, contact the NIEA or SEPA.
Waste management licensing exemptions
Guidance - Noise and vibration management: environmental permits, Guidance - Noise and vibration management: environmental permits
Environmental Plans, Principles and Governance for Northern Ireland – Synopsis of Responses, Public responses to the Discussion Document: Environmental Plans, Principles and Governance
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