Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Waste management licensing legislation

Waste management licensing legislation

This page provides links to key pieces of relevant environmental legislation. The links will direct you to the Legislation.gov, Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI), Statute Law Database (SLD) or EUR-lex websites.

Remember that different parts of the UK have variations in environmental laws.

If you are setting up an environmental management system (EMS) for your business, you can use this list to start compiling your legal register. Your legal adviser or environmental consultant will be able to tell you if other environmental legislation applies to your specific business.

Environmental management systems and environmental reports

You may also need to know about:


Animal by-products and food waste

Pollution prevention and control permits

Northern Ireland

Pollution Control and Local Government (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 SR 1049 (including updates)

Regulates waste on land, abandoned vehicles, noise nuisance, noise abatement zones, sulphur content of oil fuel used in furnaces and engines, cable burning, and pollution of the atmosphere and water. Other aspects have been revoked.

Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997 SI 2778 (including updates)

Sets out the waste management regime covering waste carrier registration and identifying and remedying contaminated land.

Waste Collection and Disposal (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1997 SR 52

Amends 1992/254. Implements EC Directive 91/156/EEC on waste and makes it an offence to carry out an exempt activity without registering with the local council.

Waste Management Licensing Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003 SR 493

Covers applications for waste management licences, which authorise the deposit, disposal and treatment of controlled waste.

Includes conditions on the use of certain mobile plant.

Waste Management Licensing (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009 SR 76

Amends 2003/493 to change the regime of waste management licensing exemptions in Northern Ireland to ensure compliance with the Hazardous Waste Directive.

Waste Management Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 SR 280

Extends the controlled waste regime to bring mine, quarry and agricultural waste within waste management control.Categorises waste as household, industrial or commercial. Amends existing legislation to further implement Directives on waste and landfill.

Waste Management Licensing (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015 SR 301

Amend the Waste Management Licensing Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003 to update the technical competence element of the Fit and Proper Person test. Update the requirement for a waste management operator to obtain an appropriate level of competence.

Waste Management Licensing (Amendment No.2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015/386

Amend the Controlled Waste (Registration of Carriers and Seizure of Vehicles) Regulations (NI) 1999 and the Waste Management Licensing Regulations (NI) 2003. The purpose of the Regulations is to update and broaden the prescribed offences element of the waste Fit and Proper Person test to include ‘reputational’ convictions and remove regulations that are no longer extant.


Environment Act 1995

Establishes the Environment Agency and SEPA as the regulatory bodies for contaminated land, control of pollution, conservation or enhancement of the environment and fisheries.

Environmental Protection Act 1990

Establishes in England, Scotland and Wales the structure and authority for waste management and control of emissions into the environment.

Waste Management Licensing (Scotland) Regulations 2011 SSI 228

Consolidates 1994/1056 and amendments. Adds new exemptions. Removes need for licence holders to have a certificate of technical competence.

Requires businesses carrying their own waste to register as waste carriers.

The Waste Management Licensing (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2016

Removes waste tyres from the list of materials that can be treated for recovery or reuse under a paragraph 11 exemption. Also removes tyres from the list of waste types that can be stored under a paragraph 17 exemption.

The Waste (Recyclate Quality) (Scotland) Regulations 2015 SSI 101

Requires the holder of a Waste Management Licence to comply with the Materials Recovery Code. Also a PPC permit for the running of a waste recovery facility must contain a requirement to comply with the Materials Recovery Code.

Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2011 SSI 226

Enables the partial suspension, revocation, transfer and surrender of site licences, and allows licences held by the same person to be consolidated if they cover the same site or more than one mobile plant.

Further information

The current environmental legislation lists provide links to key environmental statutes and regulations.

Current environmental legislation

For further information on relevant legislation contact your environmental regulator or local council.

Contact your environmental regulator

Contact your local council

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

Environmental News Blog

NetRegs on NetRegs on youTube

View our latest videos & subscribe to our channel.

NetRegs Update Newsletter

Free monthly email newsletter with environmental updates for Northern Ireland and Scotland

Sign up for free today!


NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms