What you must do

The Waste Incineration Directive (WID) is a European law which aims to prevent or limit the negative effects of waste incineration on the environment. If you burn solid or liquid waste then the WID is likely to apply to you.

Following Brexit the UK continues to apply the existing successful model of integrated pollution control. The EU Withdrawal Act 2018 maintains established environmental principles and ensures that existing EU environmental law will continue to have effect in UK law, including the IED and BAT Conclusion Implementing Decision made under it. 

The WID places strict conditions and minimum technical requirements on operators. If the WID applies to your plant you will need to have strict controls on your emissions.

Complying with the WID

The WID applies to the burning of waste in a technical unit. See the page in this guideline on controls on types of waste burning units.

If you burn waste that is subject to the WID, you must have a WID-compliant Part A pollution prevention and control (PPC) permit for your incinerator.

Your permit will list the types and quantities of waste that you are allowed to burn. It will also include operating conditions, emission limits and monitoring requirements. You must comply with the conditions of your permit.

Exclusions from the WID

The WID does not cover the following types of waste burning plant:

  • Experimental plants used for research, development and testing. These are excluded only if they are used to improve the incineration process and burn less than 50 tonnes of waste per year. They are excluded because of the nature of the plant, not because of the types of waste they burn.
  • Plants that burn only waste in gaseous form. However, if a pyrolysis or gasification plant treats solid or liquid waste to produce a gas which is subsequently burned, both the initial unit and the gas combustion unit will be covered by the WID.
  • Plants that do not fit the definition of a technical unit.
  • Plants that do not fit the definition of an incineration plant or a co-incineration plant - for instance, if the primary activity is cleaning or drying equipment which also happens to combust waste, but where any burning of waste is incidental. Examples include cleaning paint from paint jigs, drying swarf to make waste metal suitable for feeding into a furnace, and using afterburners in emission abatement from a plant which is not an incineration plant.

The WID does not apply if your installation burns only the following types of waste, either on their own or in combination with non-waste fuel:

  • vegetable waste from agriculture and forestry (burning vegetable oil does require a WID compliant plant)
  • vegetable waste from the food processing industry - if the heat generated is recovered
  • fibrous vegetable waste from pulp making - if this happens on the site where the waste is generated and the heat generated is recovered
  • wood waste - excluding wood waste which has been treated with wood preservatives or coatings
  • cork waste
  • radioactive waste
  • animal carcasses

You environmental regulator can give you guidance on whether your plant is an incineration plant or a co-incineration plant.

If you burn any other waste in combination with these excluded wastes, the WID will apply.

If you have an animal carcass incinerator you will require an authorisation issued under the Animal By-products Regulation.

Animal by-products

Even if your plant, activity or waste is excluded from the WID it may still require a PPC permit, waste management licence or a registered waste exemption. See the pages in this guideline on permits for burning waste and exemptions for burning waste.

Further information

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