Animal by-products: how to burn them at an incinerator site

How to get your site approved, the category your site falls into, the type of incinerator you need and how it must be maintained.

The type of approval you need

If you’re only incinerating animal carcases or parts of carcases on their own, and not a mix of these animal by-products (ABPs) and other materials, you must get Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) approval.

Complete form ABPR2 and send it to APHA.

If you incinerate non-ABPs or a mixture of ABPs and non-ABPs you need Environment Agency approval under the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) and registration by APHA - complete form AB117.

If you’ve been approved by the APHA to burn animal carcases or parts of carcases on their own, you don’t need to get IED approval.

After you’ve applied

A vet will check your application to make sure your site’s structure, operation, and record keeping plans meet the requirements of the ABP regulations.

Inspectors will then come and visit your site to make sure you’re operating legally.

Find out more about setting up a site, plus hygiene and safety.

Low capacity incinerators

If your site incinerates less than 50kg of materials per hour, you must apply to the APHA for approval as a low capacity incinerator site.

In England or Wales, your site can have more than one incinerator, but it must be mechanically impossible for you to burn more than 50kg of ABPs per hour.

High capacity incinerators

If your site incinerates more than 50kg of materials per hour, you must apply to the APHA for approval as a high capacity incinerator site.

The type of incinerator you need

You can only incinerate ABPs if the exhaust gas is held at 850°C for 2 seconds, or 1100°C for 0.2 seconds.

The 850°C/2 second temperature is often achieved by using a secondary chamber to retain the gas for the required 2 seconds.

You can use a mobile incinerator but it’s subject to the same regulations as a static incinerator.

How to incinerate

You must incinerate carcasses whole unless they’ve been cut up at a site that’s approved for that purpose.

Temperature requirements for all incinerators

The gas in the chamber must be at the required temperature (850°C for 2 seconds, 1100°C for 0.2 seconds) before you can start incinerating ABPs.

You must record temperatures during burning (either single chamber or secondary chamber). You should keep these records for 2 years.

You must do this either automatically throughout the burn cycle, or manually, every 2 hours for 10% of incinerations.

Chambers in low capacity incinerators

If you’re incinerating category 1 material in a low capacity incinerator, it must have a secondary chamber.

Chambers in high capacity incinerators

Your high capacity incinerator must be equipped with a secondary chamber which switches on automatically if the temperature of the gas falls below 850°C or 1100°C.

Loading your incinerator

If your primary chamber and secondary chamber are linked, and the primary doesn’t ignite until the secondary has reached 850°C, then you can load the primary cold.

If they’re not linked, you must load the primary chamber hot.

Paperwork for your incinerator

The company that made your incinerator must give you a manufacturer’s declaration which confirms your machine can meet the required heat standards.

It should also show the:

  • make and model of your incinerator
  • settings you should use to meet the regulation heat

Under older legislation, incinerators were approved based on what type they were. If your incinerator has already been approved by type, you don’t need a declaration.

List of make and model of incinerators with type approval (PDF, 73.1KB, 7 pages)

You must have written confirmation from a qualified service person, that shows your incinerator has been serviced at least once a year, and is in full working order.

Manufacturer’s instructions

You must follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using your incinerator, and keep a copy of them at your site.

Where to put your incinerator

Your incinerator can’t be on the same premises as livestock if you burn ABPs from other sites.

To be considered a separate premises to your livestock site, your incinerator site must have a defined boundary and an entrance of its own.

You should also make sure your incinerator:

  • is on a hard standing which may be bunded (built to stop liquids escaping) or sloped to a drain
  • has a nearby drained area that provides space for containers or vehicles to be cleaned
  • is kept away from any livestock on your site
  • has its own team of staff who do not share common areas or equipment with staff that work with livestock

Storage and hygiene

You must make sure you:

  • incinerate ABPs as quickly as possible - storing them for a maximum of 7 days
  • store any ABPs you don’t immediately incinerate in leak-proof, covered, and labelled containers.

If your site handles category 1 specified risk material (body parts that pose a particular disease risk, eg cows’ spinal cords), you must drain any waste water out of your site through a 6mm trap.

You must then incinerate any solid material you find in the trap.

Find out more about site and staff hygiene, storage, and labelling.

Getting rid of ABPs

You must incinerate again any ABPs that haven’t been completely incinerated, or dispose of them according to regulations.

Find out how to dispose of ABPs.

You must have a plan for how you’ll get rid of ABPs if your incinerator breaks.

What to do with ash

Animals must not have access to the raw ABPs that are awaiting incineration or to the ash after the incineration.

You can send ABPs to landfill if they are completely incinerated and only ash remains.

In England and Wales, ash from category 2 or category 3 pig and poultry ABPs can be used on farmland.

Ash resulting from the incineration of category 1 specified risk material is not under the control of the ABP regulations. This comes under the control of Environmental Controls (Waste Framework Directive).

Incinerating ABPs with mixed materials

If you incinerate a mixture of ABPs and other materials at your site, you must get approval from a different body depending on how much you burn and where your site is.

If you burn more than one tonne per hour and your site is in England or Wales, you must get approved by the Environment Agency.

If you burn less than one tonne per hour and your site is in England or Wales, you must get approved by your local authority.

If your site is in Scotland, you must get approved by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

Published 5 September 2014
Last updated 5 May 2017 + show all updates
  1. Updated list of make and model of incinerators with type approval
  2. Small change to what to do with ash section due to change in the regulations.
  3. AHVLA documents have been re-assigned to the new Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).
  4. AHVLA documents have been re-assigned to the new Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).
  5. First published.