Guidance

Waste: export and import

The controls that apply if you transport waste out of or into England.

Applies to England

What a waste shipment is

Waste exports and imports are called waste shipments. A waste shipment means the transport of waste between England and another country (except Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) whether by road, rail, air or sea. Waste shipments must follow rules called waste shipment controls.

If you do not follow the relevant legal requirements you may be committing a criminal offence and risk prosecution, financial penalties and imprisonment. You may want to seek independent legal advice before importing or exporting waste.

Check if your material is classed as waste

Waste shipment controls only apply if the material you want to transport is waste. You need to find out if the material you want to transport is classed as waste by any of the countries involved. If it is waste, controls apply across the whole journey.

Sometimes the regulatory bodies responsible for overseeing the rules in each country (known as the ‘competent authorities’) may disagree on whether something is waste. In these cases the material will be waste.

Use the guidance on how to check if your material is waste.

You have a legal duty of care if you produce, carry, import, keep or dispose of waste. You must make sure your waste is handled safely and only passed to those authorised to receive it. It is your responsibility to classify your waste correctly and ship it under the correct controls.

Waste shipment controls

Waste controls are set out in the retained Waste Shipments Regulation EC No 1013/2006 as amended by:

  • The International Waste Shipments (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019
  • The International Waste Shipments (Amendment of Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006) Regulations 2020
  • The International Waste Shipments (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2021

This guidance refers to these as the ‘relevant regulations’. They apply from the point the waste is loaded until the waste is processed at the destination facility.

Rules for importing and exporting waste apply in:

  • the country where the shipment starts
  • the country where the shipment ends
  • any country the waste passes through on its intended journey (known as ‘transit countries’)

You need to check the rules for all the countries your waste will pass through on its intended journey. Some waste shipments are prohibited.

If your waste shipment is not prohibited, it must comply with either:

  • ‘green list’ waste controls (also known as Article 18 controls), which are simplified controls for most non-hazardous materials
  • notification controls (sometimes known as ‘amber list’ controls), which require consent from all the competent authorities involved before you can ship

How to find out which controls apply

The controls that apply to waste shipments depend on the:

  • waste type
  • treatment type planned for the waste at its destination
  • country of destination and the transport route

There are also producer responsibility regulations which you may need to keep to if you export wastes such as:

  • packaging
  • batteries
  • end of life vehicles (ELV)
  • waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)

The type of waste

Describe waste using the description codes in the relevant regulations. You can use a consolidated waste list of the relevant annexes to check how you should describe your waste. The annexes have 2 types of waste codes – Basel codes and OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) codes. Basel codes start with a single letter (for example, B3011) and OECD codes start with 2 letters (for example, AC300).

If your waste type appears in the consolidated waste list, the waste code and annex title number will help you to find out which shipment controls apply.

If there is no Basel or OECD code for your waste, you must describe it as ‘not listed’ and notification controls will apply.

The controls that apply to non-hazardous waste plastic changed on 1 January 2021. Check the rules on importing and exporting waste plastic.

The type of treatment

Waste ‘treatment’ refers to either disposal or recovery. The terms ‘disposal’ and ‘recovery’ are defined in the EU Waste Framework Directive.

Generally, imports and exports of waste must be for recovery. Imports or exports for disposal are prohibited in the UK, except for a few exceptions described in the UK plan for waste shipments. In these exceptions notification controls always apply.

For some plastics, the waste controls depend on the type of recovery planned. Find out more in our guidance on importing and exporting waste plastic.

The intended journey and destination

You must follow the rules that apply in each country the waste will stop at or move through on its journey, including:

  • its origin
  • its final destination
  • any transit countries

You can use the waste export controls tool to work out which controls apply to your shipment. The tool is only a guide, so you should always check the controls with the competent authorities, government departments or customs inspectorates in the destination and transit countries before shipping.

You can also use the following general principles for your intended destination to work out which controls apply.

Recovery in OECD countries or EU member states

Green list waste controls generally apply to waste listed under a single entry in Annex III, IIIB or the mixtures of wastes listed in Annex IIIA (these annexes can be found in the consolidated waste list).

Notification controls apply to all other wastes.

If you are shipping waste to or from the EU, you must follow the guidelines for customs controls on transboundary shipments of waste.

Recovery in non-OECD countries outside the EU

The Green List Regulations set out the controls that apply to waste listed in Annex III and IIIA according to each non-OECD country.

The controls that apply to non-hazardous waste plastic changed on 1 January 2021. This may affect the controls which apply to your shipment. You may need to check the rules on importing and exporting waste plastic.

Some of the wastes listed in Annex V are prohibited from export, including hazardous waste and household waste.

Notification controls apply to all other wastes.

You can refer to the lists of:

Exporting waste under green list waste controls

A waste which you intend to export under green list waste controls must:

  • not be prohibited
  • not need to be shipped under notification controls
  • not contain hazardous waste
  • be properly sorted before loading, meaning that the sorting process removes contaminants to the point where any remaining contamination is so small as to be minimal and does not prevent the waste from being classified as green list waste

If the waste still has more than minimal contamination after it has been sorted, then you may need to ship it under notification controls or it may be prohibited for export.

If the waste can be exported under green list waste controls, you do not need to apply for consent from the Environment Agency or pay them a fee. You must fill in an Annex VII form, which contains information about the waste and its journey, and follow the other steps explained in the next sections.

You must check with the competent authorities of the transit or destination countries whether different rules apply and you are required to apply for consent or pay fees. It is your responsibility to check all the requirements that apply.

If you are exporting waste plastic you must follow the importing and exporting waste plastic guidance.

Before shipping the waste

  1. Make sure the waste is properly sorted so that it can be exported as green list waste. Some countries may still prohibit the import of such waste or require that you send it under notification controls. Check whether you can send the properly sorted waste as green list waste to the destination country.

  2. Make sure that the Annex VII form is fully completed and sign it – it must travel with the waste at all times. You should keep copies of Annex VII forms for 3 years. Competent authorities can ask to see copies at any time.

  3. Create a written contract between the person arranging the shipment (you as the exporter) and the importer (also called the consignee). The contract must make sure that, if the shipment cannot be completed as planned, or is found to be illegal, the exporter will take the waste back or recover it in another way and provide for its storage in the meantime. You must keep copies of the contract for 3 years – competent authorities can ask to see them.

Completing the Annex VII form

The Annex VII form contains boxes that must be filled in. These boxes are known as ‘blocks’ and are numbered on the form to make it easier to refer to.

The exporter in block 1 is the person who arranges the shipment and signs the declaration in block 12 to say there is a contract in place. If you are a broker or dealer based in the EU, you must be registered with the Environment Agency, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency or Natural Resources Wales if you arrange waste shipments from Great Britain. If you are a broker or dealer based outside the EU, you must be registered and have a personal or business address in the UK.

The importer in block 2 is the recovery facility or a broker or dealer who is under the jurisdiction of the country of destination and has legal control over the waste when it arrives there.

You must fill in contact details in full, including the:

  • contact name
  • company registration number (if applicable)
  • address, including country
  • email
  • telephone number, including the international dialling code

Business confidentiality is not a reason for not including these details.

The recovery facility in block 7 must be the facility where the waste will be recovered. If the facility in block 7 is an interim facility, you must also give information about the facilities where further operations will take place. Do this on a separate annex and keep this with the Annex VII form.

You must enter the code that describes the treatment at the recovery facility in block 8. The codes can be found in Annex II of the EU Waste Framework Directive.

After the waste arrives

The importer and (if different) the recovery facility must sign and fill in the Annex VII form in blocks 13 and 14.

Exporters and importers must keep copies of the Annex VII form and their contracts for 3 years – competent authorities can ask to see them.

If the waste shipment cannot be completed as planned, the exporter should tell the Environment Agency.

Exporting waste under notification controls

Before you export waste under notification controls you must tell (‘notify’) all the competent authorities involved in the waste journey, and they must give consent before you can go ahead.

To export waste under notification controls from England, you must be under the jurisdiction of England or Wales. You must also be one of the following:

  • the original waste producer
  • the licensed new producer
  • a licensed collector of waste
  • a dealer or broker registered with the Environment Agency with written approval from a producer or licensed collector to move their waste
  • the holder of the waste when all of these are unknown or insolvent

1. Fill in a notification application using the International Waste Shipments (IWS) online service

Apply for consent through IWS online. You can use this service to:

  • create and manage your notification application
  • create pre-notifications and upload movement documents (information you must give before your waste shipment starts)
  • record and manage shipment data

When you use the system for the first time you will need to register for a user account. You can contact the Environment Agency if you need help.

You must give details on all aspects of the waste, including its origin, treatment and journey from producer to final destination. Exporting waste under notification controls requires more detail than is needed under green list controls. Include as much information as you can in your application, using annexes to give more information where necessary.

If you do not give enough detail, there could be delays in assessing and approving your application.

Your application must include details of all the transit countries your waste will pass through on its journey. Some countries define this very widely to include journeys that pass through territorial waters or stop at port, even if the waste is not unloaded. You need to check the rules for all the countries your waste will pass through on its intended journey.

Sometimes shipping routes change at short notice. It is your responsibility to find out which countries your waste might pass through before you apply for consent. If a shipping company cannot confirm which route your waste will take when you are preparing your application, you may want to consider submitting more than one application to cover several possible routes. You need to pay fees for each application.

Consider the timescales in this guidance and plan your application in line with these, as the process can take several months.

2. Decide how many shipments you will make

You can apply to send several waste shipments under one notification. The waste in each shipment must:

  • be the same type
  • start from the same load site
  • move to the same destination
  • use the same route
  • move on the same day

You need to tell us how many shipments you intend to make and the planned first and last dates for shipments.

You will have up to 12 months from the date of consent to complete the shipments, or up to 3 years if the destination facility has pre-consented status.

3. Find out if you are exporting to a pre-consented recovery site

Overseas recovery sites in EU or OECD countries which regularly receive shipments of the same waste may benefit from being ‘pre-consented’.

Recovery sites can apply to the competent authorities in their country for pre-consent. The advantages of exporting to a pre-consented recovery site are that:

  • the consent process is quicker
  • consents may last up to 3 years, rather than the standard 12 months

4. Find out if you are exporting waste to an interim operation

There are different fees and requirements if you are exporting waste for an ‘interim operation’. An interim operation involves pre-processing or storing waste at a site overseas before moving it to a place of final recovery or disposal.

There are 5 operation codes which relate to interim operations:

  • R12 – exchange of wastes before recovery
  • R13 – accumulation of wastes before recovery
  • D13 – blending or mixing of wastes before disposal
  • D14 – repackaging of wastes before disposal
  • D15 – storage of wastes before disposal

Codes that begin with ‘R’ refer to recovery and those that begin with ‘D’ refer to disposal. You can find a list of these codes in Annex I and II of the EU Waste Framework Directive.

If your waste is destined for an interim operation, you must explain clearly what the interim waste treatment involves. You must include an annex with your application with details of the final treatment operation and where it will take place.

5. Arrange a financial guarantee or insurance

You must have a financial guarantee or equivalent insurance that is approved by the Environment Agency. This makes sure there is enough money available for the Environment Agency to deal with the waste if the shipment is not completed.

Use the financial guarantee form to apply. Your financial guarantee must be approved before shipments can begin. The Environment Agency can approve a financial guarantee before it is due to take effect, if it is in place before any shipments take place.

The financial guarantee must be enough to cover the actual costs if the export cannot be completed. It must be enough to cover:

  • transporting the waste
  • waste recovery or disposal
  • storage for up to 90 days

Your calculation needs to reflect the real-world costs the Environment Agency would incur. For example, do not use preferential transport costs that the Environment Agency cannot access.

Any competent authority may ask for a copy of your financial guarantee or insurance arrangements. EU authorities may ask for a second financial guarantee or insurance. Contact the destination authority for their requirements before you send your notification to the Environment Agency.

You must give an address for service of claims for the financial institution you use for financial guarantees for export notifications. The financial institution you use must be registered in England or Wales.

The financial guarantee must be valid for:

  • 3 years from the date of consent for standard notifications
  • 5 years from the date of consent if the treatment facility has pre-consent status

6. Put a contract in place

Before you send your notification application, you (the notifier) must have a legally enforceable, written contract with the business that will be treating your waste (the importer).

This contract must include:

  • an obligation for the business to provide a certificate confirming they have legally recovered or disposed of the waste
  • an obligation for the notifier to take the waste back if the shipment, recovery or disposal does not go ahead as planned, or if the shipment is illegal
  • an obligation for the importer to recover or dispose of the waste if it is found to be illegal because of the importer’s action

If the waste is shipped to an interim facility the contract must also include:

  • an obligation for the final treatment facility to provide a certificate confirming that the waste has been recovered or disposed of as set out in the notification
  • an obligation for the importer to send a notification to the Environment Agency if they send the waste for final treatment in a different country

Some countries might have more rules about what a contract must include. You should check the rules before you send your notification application.

The Environment Agency, or any other competent authority with an interest in the notification, may ask for a copy of the contract.

7. Arrange third party insurance

You need insurance against liability for damage to third parties resulting from your waste shipment. This needs to be in place before you send your notification application. Any competent authority with an interest in the notification may ask for a copy of the insurance arrangements.

8. Pay the charge

The Environment Agency will not deal with your notification until you have paid the correct fee. Other competent authorities may also charge you for considering your notification.

The charge depends on:

  • whether the waste is being imported or exported
  • whether it is for recovery or disposal
  • whether it is for an interim or non-interim operation
  • the number of shipments included in the notification

These are the charges for exports.

Export for recovery (interim and non-interim) Export for non-interim disposal Export for interim disposal
1 shipment £1,450 £1,540 £1,700
2 to 5 shipments £1,450 £1,540 £1,700
6 to 20 shipments £2,700 £3,330 £3,330
21 to 100 shipments £4,070 £5,500 £6,000
101 to 500 shipments £7,920 £10,600 £12,900
501 or more shipments £14,380 £19,500 £24,000

Pay charges to the Environment Agency.

9. Send your application

When you complete your notification application on IWS online, email a signed copy to the Environment Agency at askshipments@environment-agency.gov.uk

Your application must include:

  • your signed notification form
  • your movement form (not signed at this stage)
  • any annexes required to give more details on your application, for example the technology used to treat the waste
  • proof of payment
  • your contract
  • any other documents relevant to your shipment

The preferred method of payment is electronic transfer (BACS or CHAPS payment).

If you are moving waste between England and the EU, your notification form must include the details of the customs office of:

  • entry into the EU
  • exit from the EU, if relevant

Some EU member states require waste shipments to enter or exit through a designated customs office. Therefore, you need to check the list of designated customs offices in EU member states.

Check your application carefully before you send it. Once the application has been sent to the other competent authorities involved, changes can only be made in limited circumstances.

10. Application assessment

Within 3 working days of receiving a complete and correct notification package, the Environment Agency will:

  • assess your application
  • send it to all competent authorities involved

If your notification package is incomplete the assessment will take longer.

Your notification package cannot be assessed until it has all the required information.

If the assessment will take longer than usual, the Environment Agency will tell you why. If you do not hear from the Environment Agency within 30 days of sending a complete notification, email askshipments@environment-agency.gov.uk

11. Competent authority of destination reviews the notification package

The Environment Agency will send your notification package to all competent authorities involved (known as ‘transmission’) for their assessment. They may require you to pay more fees to assess your notification package.

If the competent authority of destination is an EU country, they must check they have all the information they need within 3 days of receiving the notification package. They may contact you for more information about your shipment. Competent authorities in non-EU countries may take longer.

Other competent authorities involved in your waste’s journey will also get a copy of your notification package and may ask for more information.

Once the competent authority of destination is satisfied that the notification package is complete, they will acknowledge it and send a copy of this to you and all the competent authorities involved. Competent authorities in EU countries will acknowledge the notification within 3 working days. Other countries may take longer.

12. Receive a notification decision

Within 30 days of the competent authority of destination acknowledging the notification, it must decide if it:

  • consents to the notification without conditions
  • consents to the notification with conditions
  • objects

Waste cannot be shipped under a notification until the competent authority of destination has consented.

Any of the competent authorities involved may object. The Environment Agency will only object using reasons set out in Article 11 and Article 12 of the relevant regulations.

The competent authorities involved will send you copies of their decisions.

If competent authorities of transit countries make no response within 30 days, you may be able to assume ‘tacit consent’ to ship the waste without their response. Some countries have different rules about tacit consent. You can find out the rules by contacting the relevant competent authorities.

For movements that involve a country that is not a member of the EU, OECD or European Free Trade Association, the consent or tacit consent statutory timescales may be longer. The Environment Agency will tell you if so.

Your consent allows you to ship your waste up to 12 months from the date of consent. If the destination site has pre-consent status, your consent may allow you up to 3 years to ship your waste.

Consent can only be used by the organisation named as the notifier on the notification. If any other organisation wants to export waste, they must make a separate application for consent, even if all other details of the waste shipment are the same.

You can only ship the type and quantity of waste and use the destination and route described in your notification. There are steps you need to follow before, during, and after the waste shipment.

Before the waste moves

  1. Check you have the consents you need from all the competent authorities involved, and that your financial guarantee is approved and valid.

  2. Create a pre-notification on IWS online – sign it then upload the signed movement document to IWS online.

  3. Send copies to the other competent authorities and the destination waste facility at least 3 working days before shipping, but no more than 30 days before.

  4. Check the carriers you will use are registered and permitted to carry your waste in each country. You can use the public register to search for registered waste carriers in England.

If you do not create your pre-notification on IWS online, you must fill in blocks 2, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 15 on your movement document, then email a copy to shipments@environment-agency.gov.uk.

You must fill in a movement document and keep a copy for every shipment made under the notification. A shipment starts at the place of loading and continues until the waste is fully recovered at the destination facility.

When the waste moves

A copy of the completed movement document and the consented notification document, including annexes, must travel with the waste and stay with it throughout the journey.

If waste is moving between England and the EU, waste carriers must, when asked, give a copy of the movement form to the customs office of entry into the EU.

If waste is entering or exiting the EU through a German customs office, you must always give a copy of the movement form to customs officials.

After the waste arrives

The facility that receives the waste must fill in block 18 of the movement document and send copies to the notifier and all competent authorities concerned within 3 working days from receiving it.

The facility that receives the waste must treat it within one year, unless the relevant competent authorities require that it happen sooner. The facility must give a certificate of disposal or recovery within 30 days of treatment by completing block 19 of the movement document. They must send copies to the notifier and all authorities concerned. Documents must be kept for 3 years.

You must add this information to your shipment record on IWS online when:

  • the waste is received at the destination facility
  • treatment is complete

If things change

Changing route

Waste must be transported using the route set out in your application. You will usually need to submit a new application if you want to ship waste using a different route. Changes may be allowed in exceptional circumstances if all the competent authorities involved agree. The Environment Agency will not agree to a change if it means your waste passes through a transit country that was not included in your original application.

If your waste passes through a transit country that is not included in your application, then consent for your notification may be withdrawn. The competent authorities involved may stop your shipment and make you pay to return the waste to England.

The Environment Agency will contact you if any details given in the application are found to be incorrect after they have given consent. They may withdraw your consent to export as a result.

If the details in your application change at any time during the assessment period or after they have given consent, you should tell the Environment Agency straight away. Depending on the changes, you may need to apply for a new notification.

Rejected waste

If the waste has left England but is then stopped during its journey or rejected by the destination facility, it may need to be brought back or transported to a different site for recovery or disposal. You must meet the requirements of the competent authorities concerned.

It may be necessary to use your financial guarantee to make sure that the waste is recovered in an environmentally sound manner.

If the notified waste shipment does not go ahead

If the shipment does not go ahead within 10 working days of the date of shipment given in block 6 of the movement document, the Environment Agency will consider that shipment ‘cancelled’. Other competent authorities may have different rules on when a shipment is cancelled. You must tell all the competent authorities involved if your shipment is cancelled.

Once cancelled, you cannot change the shipment date or reuse the shipment number in block 2 of the movement document.

Increase the number of waste shipments

You can ask for an increase to the number of shipments permitted on a notification. You must:

  • send the written request to the Environment Agency before any extra shipments take place
  • get written consent for your extra shipments from all the competent authorities involved
  • not exceed the maximum tonnage detailed in block 5 of your notification document – this cannot be increased, so if you need extra tonnage you must apply for another notification

You will need to pay extra if the increase to the number of shipments means you are in a higher charges band – check the charges table.

Get a refund on a notification charge

You may request a refund from the Environment Agency if:

  • your notification application is objected to
  • you withdraw your notification before it receives consent
  • your notification has received consent, but none of the waste has shipped

Your charge will be refunded minus the ‘minimum charge’. The minimum charge is the amount for your activity for one shipment, as shown in the charges table.

You must apply for a refund within 12 months of the notification’s date of consent. You cannot move waste on a notification once you have received a refund.

When the notification expires

The notification expires when either:

  • the competent authority receives signed copies of the movement documents for all shipments of waste made under the notification, confirming that all the waste has been recovered or disposed of
  • the total quantity of all shipments made under one notification reaches the maximum quantity in block 5 of the notification
  • the consent given by the competent authority reaches its expiry date
  • consent is withdrawn

When all the waste has been correctly recovered or disposed of, you can ask the Environment Agency to release the financial guarantee.

You must keep all documents about the waste shipment and treatment for at least 3 years from the date the shipment starts.

If you need to apply for a new notification, you do not need to wait for your consent to expire.

Importing waste under green list waste controls into England

If your waste can be imported under green list waste controls, you do not need to apply for consent from the Environment Agency or pay them a fee. The exporter must fill in an Annex VII form, which contains information about the waste and its journey. A copy of this document must travel with the waste on its journey.

You must check with the competent authorities of the dispatch and transit countries because different rules might apply. It is your responsibility to check all the requirements that apply.

If you are importing waste plastic you must follow the importing and exporting waste plastic guidance.

Before the waste ships

  1. The importer must draw up a written contract with the person who arranges the shipment (exporter) before the waste ships. The contract must make sure that if the shipment cannot be completed as planned, or is found to be illegal, the exporter will take the waste back or recover it in another way and provide for its storage in the meantime. You must keep copies of the contract for 3 years – competent authorities can ask to see them.

  2. Check that any company who will transport the waste in England is registered as a waste carrier. You can use the public register to search for registered waste carriers in England.

  3. Check that the recovery facility has the necessary waste permit or exemption in place to treat the waste in the way described on the Annex VII form.

After the waste arrives

Check that there is a completed Annex VII form with the waste shipment. To accept the waste, you must be satisfied:

  • it is as described in the Annex VII form
  • it is not prohibited
  • notification controls do not apply
  • it does not contain hazardous waste
  • it is properly sorted, meaning that the sorting process has removed contaminants to the point where any remaining contamination is so small as to be minimal and does not prevent the waste from being classified as green list waste

If you cannot accept the waste because these criteria are not met, you must:

The importer and (if different) the recovery facility must sign and fill in the Annex VII form at blocks 13 and 14 when they receive the waste. Exporters and importers must keep copies of the forms for 3 years – competent authorities can ask to see them.

Importing waste under notification controls

The process to import waste under notification controls starts in the country of dispatch. The exporter must apply to the competent authority in the country of dispatch for consent. They must follow its procedures and requirements. The competent authority of dispatch may charge the exporter a fee.

Do not use the IWS online service for waste imports to England. The competent authority in the country of dispatch will give notification and movement numbers needed to ship notified waste.

Who can import waste

The importer must have the relevant carrier, broker or dealer licence to receive or transport waste in England. The recovery facility must have a waste permit or exemption which allows it to treat the waste as described in the notification document.

If you run a waste recovery site with a permit in England and regularly receive shipments of the same waste, you may benefit from having a pre-consent. The advantages are that:

  • there is no cost to apply
  • the notification process is quicker
  • consents may last up to 3 years, rather than the standard 12 months

Recovery facilities in England can apply using the pre-consent form.

Before the waste moves

When the competent authority in the dispatch country is satisfied that the notification application is complete, it will send the details to the Environment Agency for consideration. The notification must include:

  • a signed notification form
  • a movement form (not signed at this stage)
  • any annexes required to give more details on your application, for example the technology used to treat the waste
  • a copy of the financial guarantee
  • a legally enforceable, written contract between the notifier and the business that will be recovering or disposing of the waste
  • proof that the Environment Agency’s charges for importing notified waste have been paid, as set out in the following table
Import for non-interim recovery Import for interim recovery Import for non-interim disposal Import for interim disposal
1 shipment £1,250 £1,450 £1,540 £1,700
2 to 5 shipments £1,250 £1,450 £1,540 £1,700
6 to 20 shipments £2,700 £2,830 £3,330 £3,300
21 to 100 shipments £4,900 £5,500 £5,500 £6,000
101 to 500 shipments £10,600 £12,900 £10,600 £12,900
501 or more shipments £19,500 £24,000 £19,500 £24,000

Pay charges to the Environment Agency.

The Environment Agency will accept a notification application without a copy of the financial guarantee if you are importing from an EU country.

The Environment Agency will check that the required information is included within 3 days of receiving the notification package. They may ask for more details or ask to see copies of documents such as contracts. The Environment Agency will check your financial guarantee for imports from non-EU countries. You need the Environment Agency to approve the financial guarantee before the application can go ahead.

Once the Environment Agency is satisfied that the notification package is complete, they have 3 working days to acknowledge it by completing block 19 of the notification document. They will send a copy of this to the notifier and all the competent authorities involved.

Within 30 days of acknowledging the notification, the Environment Agency will decide if they:

  • consent to the notification without conditions
  • consent to the notification with conditions
  • object

The Environment Agency will only object using reasons set out in Article 11 and Article 12 of the relevant regulations.

The notifier can start to ship your waste to England after they have received consent from the Environment Agency and the other competent authorities involved.

Before each shipment, the notifier must send a copy of the completed movement document to both the:

They must send it at least 3 working days before the waste shipment starts, but no more than 30 days before.

When the waste arrives

A copy of the completed movement document and the consented notification document, including any annexes referenced in the notification, must go with the waste and stay with it throughout the journey.

When the waste arrives, the recovery or disposal facility must fill in block 18 of the movement form within 3 working days. The importer fills in block 17 if they are not the recovery or disposal facility.

The recovery or disposal facility must fill in block 18 to show:

  • if the shipment is for disposal or recovery
  • the date of receipt
  • whether they accept or reject the shipment
  • the quantity of waste in the shipment
  • the approximate date of recovery or disposal
  • the name and signature of someone at the destination facility with authority to confirm receipt of the waste

You must:

  • send copies to the notifier and all competent authorities involved within 3 working days of receipt of the waste
  • keep a copy of the completed movement document for at least 3 years from the date the shipment starts

If something is wrong with the waste

If a shipment of waste arrives at your site without the notification and movement documents, or it cannot be treated in line with the documents, you must:

When you recover or dispose of the waste

You have one year from the date of receiving the waste to treat it unless your environmental permit requires it to be done sooner. You must treat the waste as specified in the notification document.

Within 30 days of completing the treatment, the recovery or disposal facility must fill in block 19 of the movement form with the:

  • date of the waste’s recovery or disposal
  • name and signature of a person with authority to confirm the recovery or disposal
  • company stamp

You must:

  • send copies to the notifier and all competent authorities involved
  • keep a copy of the completed movement document for at least 3 years from the date the shipment starts

You should follow different actions if you receive the waste to carry out an interim operation. The Environment Agency will give details if this applies to you.

When the notification expires

The notification expires when either:

  • the competent authority receives signed copies of the movement documents for all shipments of waste made under the notification, confirming that all the waste has been recovered or disposed of
  • the total quantity of all shipments made under one notification reaches the maximum quantity in block 5 of the notification
  • the consent given by the competent authority reaches its expiry date
  • the consent is withdrawn

When all the waste has been correctly recovered or disposed of, the notifier can ask the competent authority in the dispatch country to release the financial guarantee.

You must keep all documents about the waste shipment and treatment for at least 3 years from the date the shipment starts.

Published 13 March 2014
Last updated 18 January 2022 + show all updates
  1. Various changes to the content and structure to make it clearer for importers and exporters. Replaced the term ‘Article 18 controls’ with the standard industry term ‘green list controls’. Restructured the page so it's easier to find guidance on importing and exporting green list waste controls. Clarified the conditions you need to meet to ship waste under green list controls. Added information to the ‘exporting waste under notification controls’ section to help exporters with the application process. Added information about the steps to take if there are changes to the information you provide in your application, including changes to the route of your shipment. Added more guidance on what exporters should do to find out if their notified waste passes through transit countries. Added more information on the usual timescales for getting a notification assessed to help exporters plan accordingly. Added content to the import sections to make this information easier to find without needing to read the export sections as well.

  2. Updated the 'UK plan for waste shipments' link within section 2 on disposal or recovery so it goes to the latest policy information.

  3. Added links to the relevant guidance for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

  4. Updated the page: You must provide a service of claims address for the financial institution you use for financial guarantees for export notifications. From 1 April 2021, the financial institution you use must be registered in England or Wales.

  5. We've updated references to the relevant regulations. We have also added a link to our Waste export control spreadsheet - you can use the spreadsheet to check the waste code and the control for your shipment. We've linked to 'Importing and exporting waste plastic' guidance which takes effect from 1 January 2021. We've referred you to the Guidelines for customs controls and added text about checking if your shipment needs to go through a designated customs office in the EU.

  6. We have edited section '7. Send your application'. Please do not post us your originally signed notification package - our offices are closed for the time being. Instead, please email it to askshipments@environment-agency.gov.uk.

  7. Updated to clarify the refund amount and explain the rules that apply to waste import and export now that we have left the EU.

  8. Updated waste movement form.

  9. We have provided a link to the International Waste Shipments (IWS) online service for export notification.

  10. Added new bullet to section 'Get a refund on a notification fee' if you withdraw your notification before it is consented to.

  11. Clearer instructions on how to complete forms as incorrect information will no longer be rectified by the Environment Agency and therefore returned.

  12. The waste export control tool has not yet been updated with the changes made by EC Regulation 733/2014.

  13. First published.