Transporting waste, wastewater or sewage
This guidance is relevant if you transport waste or sewage.
What you must do
Comply with your permit, licence or registered exemption
If your business has a permit, licence or registered exemption you must comply with its conditions, including any conditions about transporting waste or sewage.
Register as a waste carrier or broker
If you collect or transport other people's waste as part of your business, you must register as a waste carrier with your environmental regulator. This includes transporting sewage and sewage sludge from septic tanks, package treatment plants and cesspools.
If you arrange for the disposal or recovery of waste on behalf of another person, you must register as a broker with your environmental regulator. For example, you are a broker if you arrange for a waste carrier to collect your client's sewage or sewage sludge. Brokers who already hold an environmental permit or waste management licence for waste disposal are not required to register separately as a broker.
In Northern Ireland you will have to register with the NIEA as a lower tier carrier if you normally and regularly carry your own business waste.
In Scotland if you normally and regularly transport waste produced by your own business, you must register with SEPA as a professional collector or transporter of waste. This is a new requirement for businesses. If you transport your own construction or demolition waste you must usually register as a waste carrier. You can register using SEPA's online system.
Alternatively you can download an application form and return it to SEPA.
See our guidance for waste carriers, brokers and dealers.
If you are a business that provides a waste collection service you must:
- Apply the waste hierarchy as a priority to all waste that you collect. You must ensure that recycling services are designed to promote high quality recycling.
- Collect and carry dry recyclables that have been presented separately by your customer.
- Ensure that recyclable materials are not mixed with other wastes in a manner that may hamper recycling while you are the holder.
Further information can be found on the Scottish Government website:
Keep records of waste movements
You must make sure that you complete a waste transfer note before you transport waste.
You must complete a waste transfer note every time you move waste from one site to another, unless a 'season ticket' covers the transfer.
For regular waste transfers between customers and suppliers you can agree a season ticket where one transfer note covers multiple transfers over a defined period. You can only use a season ticket when:
- the same parties are involved in the series of transfers, and
- the waste transferred has the same description in the series of transfers.
If the waste is hazardous/special waste, you must complete a consignment note.
You must keep copies of waste transfer notes for two years, and consignment notes for three years.
For more information, see our guidance on completing waste transfer notes in:
Comply with waste imports and exports controls
If you import waste into, or export waste out of, the UK you must comply with controls on importing and exporting waste.
Comply with dangerous goods controls
If you transport dangerous goods, such as explosives or flammable liquids, you must comply with certain legal requirements regulated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
- Health and Safety Executive: Information on carriage of dangerous goods
- Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland: carriage of dangerous goods
You must make sure that you comply with Duty of Care - your waste responsibilities.
- Use collection vehicles that have facilities for transporting the kind of waste you accept.
- Transport waste and sewage in suitable, covered containers such as drums, skips, cages or tanks.
- Secure waste firmly during transportation to prevent movement and damage.
- Label your containers correctly with the type of materials stored in them.
- Make sure that you supervise the loading of vehicles. Before you load vehicles, check that any containers are sealed and that lids are secure.
- Transport hazardous waste in secure, waterproof, flame resistant, shockproof and alkali leak-proof cases.
- Regularly check your vehicles' locks and only drop off waste when you are sure the location is secure. You can be prosecuted if vandals cause pollution.