You might have to apply for a permit or exemption to the Environment Agency if you handle certain types of waste or have a particular type of operation. This can include if you recycle, store, treat or dispose of waste and can apply to a particular site or one that is designated as mobile. If you handle waste in any way you already have to register as a waste carrier.
If you don’t have the right permit for the waste that your business deals with then you could be closed down or prosecuted. The area of permits can often be a complicated so its worth checking with the Environmental Agency or your local council to find out if you need a permit for a particular activity and what obligations this entails.
Regulatory Permission Statement
This means that the Environment Agency doesn’t currently require a permit and won’t take action against you if you haven’t applied for a permit. The RPS applies to certain activities in waste management and as long as you comply with the regulations you don’t need to have the permit. It also applies if your waste activity doesn’t cause harm to human health. This all sounds very complicated and it is, compounded by the fact that each RPS has an expiry date and you need to make sure you have up to date information before you assume that you don’t require a permit.
A RPS generally applies to different waste streams – for example, how fluorescent tubes are crushed in WEEE sites or small scale heat treatment of waste plastics is undertaken. Large waste plants with different waste streams will use a range of Regulatory Permission Statements depending on what they deal with.
Your waste activity may well have an exemption associated with it which also means that you don’t have to apply for a waste permit. Exemptions need to be understood fully as they usually come with caveats and regulations that a business has to stay on the right side of. Businesses have to register their exemption with the Environment Agency and renew every three years. Exemptions are available across the whole waste cycle from using, treating, storing and disposing of.
- Exemptions for using waste.
- Exemptions for treating waste.
- Exemptions for storing waste.
- Exemptions for disposing of waste.
Standard Rules Permit
For all waste activities there are sets of rules that need to be adhered to when using, treating, storing or disposing of materials. This is cheaper than opting for a tailored permit though you may need to undertake a conservation risk assessment prior to applying. These standard rule permits relate to specific activities including the biological treatment of waste and waste installations on site.
Find out more about standard rules permits here.
For most waste management, operation should fall within the remit of a standard rules permit. For those that do not, a bespoke permit will be required. This is much more complicated and expensive process and requires businesses to:
- Decide whether the business meets competency requirements as a legal operator.
- Put in place a waste management system.
- Undertake a thorough risk assessment for the waste handling.
- Put in processes to control emissions from storing or disposal of the waste.
Find out more about bespoke permits.
The above caveats apply to England and Wales. In Scotland and Northern Ireland there are pollution prevention and control (PPC) permits that are designed to help regulate certain types of industry including waste management in a similar manner. The permits provide controls for areas such as emissions, energy efficiency and waste production.
Find out more about PPC permits here.
Domestic Waste Permits
Most councils run a recycling centre where homeowners can take their additional waste and dispose of it safely. This is usually open and free to use for the domestic market. The only time you need to get a permit is if you are using a van or trailer – this is normally free or has just a small cost but has to be applied for or you will not be allowed access. The reason for this is that councils want to stop waste disposal contractors using their site for free. These permits usually allow you to take waste in a van or trailer up to a specified amount (for example, three or four loads a year).
Find out more about municipal waste services.
The area of permitting with regards to waste disposal can seem a little unwieldy and complicated for businesses. Making sure that you stay on the right side of the legislation is vital, however, and if you have any queries about your eligibility then you should contact the Environment Agency.
Skip Permits for Highways
You may have to apply to your local council for a permit to place a skip on the road outside your house or business. This may cost money and the terms will vary from council to council. You can contact your local council to find out what the proccess is for applying for a permit to place a skip temporarily outside your home or busienss on public owned land / the highway. Some skip companies offere this service also, you can search and contact them here: SKIP COMPANIES..