Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Waste management plans for mines or quarries

Waste management plans for mines or quarries

The Mining Waste Directive (MWD) brings in new requirements for managing extractive waste at mines and quarries, including a requirement for waste management plans (WMP).

This guidance applies to all mines or quarries in the UK that are required to have a WMP.

What is a WMP?

A WMP is a document that explains how you will minimise, treat, recover and dispose of extractive waste at your mine or quarry.

Who needs a WMP?

In most cases, you will need to prepare a WMP and comply with its terms if you have an extractive waste area or extractive waste facility.

Northern Ireland

You do not need a WMP if an exemption applies to your mine or quarry or your mine or quarry does not produce extractive waste. You will need to submit a waste management statement to confirm this. For example, you can submit a waste management statement for:

  • unpolluted soil
  • inert waste
  • non-hazardous waste from prospecting minerals (except oil and evaporates, other than gypsum and anhydrite)
  • waste from extracting, storing and treating peat.


If your extractive waste area was in operation on 1 April 2010 you must have produced a waste management plan by 1 May 2012 to continue your operations.


What your WMP must cover

Your WMP must explain how you will manage extractive waste at your site, including:

  • How you classify extractive waste areas and facilities at your site
    • extractive waste area or site, extractive waste facility or Category A facility in Northern Ireland and Scotland.
  • How you characterise your extractive waste:
    • inert
    • non-hazardous non-inert
    • hazardous.
  • How you create and treat extractive waste at your site:
    • how and where you create, store, treat and transport extractive waste
    • how much extractive waste you create
    • where your extractive waste will end up.
  • How your extractive waste could affect the environment and human health, including carrying out an environmental risk assessment.
  • How you will minimise environmental impacts during your mine or quarry's life, including what you will do when you construct a new mining waste facility or change an existing mining waste facility.
  • If you intend to put extractive waste into excavation voids, how you propose to control and monitor the stability of the extractive waste and prevent soil or water pollution.
  • How you control and monitor your extractive waste.
  • Your plans for closing any mining waste facility at your site, including rehabilitation, aftercare and monitoring environmental impacts.

See our guidance on closing your mine or quarry.

More Storage handling and transport of waste topics

  • How you prevent water pollution from your extractive waste.
  • A survey of the condition of the land that will be affected by any mining waste facility at your site.

You may be able to refer to existing plans or documents in your WMP if they meet some or all of the above requirements, such as documents you prepared under the Quarries Regulations 1999.


Review your waste management plan

You must review your WMP:

  • at least every five years
  • if there is a major change to your mining waste operations, extractive waste area, waste facility or the waste you deposit.

You must tell your regulator about any changes you make to your WMP.

To find out more about the MWD requirements, see our guidance on managing extractive waste.


Further information on waste management plans

EU: BREF - Management of tailings and waste rock in mining operations

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland DOE Planning: Mining waste management plans


Scottish Government: Guidance on the management of extractive waste regulations (Scotland) 2010 (PDF 426 KB)

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