U12 waste exemption: using mulch

The U12 exemption allows landscapers, farmers and growers to spread mulch as a protective covering onto land around trees, bushes or plants.

Applies to England

Types of activity you can carry out

You can spread wood chips made from waste as a mulch, for example to:

  • conserve soil moisture
  • moderate soil temperature
  • control growth of weeds
  • provide organic matter as the mulch breaks down

Types of activity you cannot carry out

You cannot:

  • use treated wood waste (apart from shredding)
  • use any other waste apart from those listed below

Types of waste you can use

The waste codes are listed in the List of Wastes (LoW) Regulations. You need to make sure your waste fits within the waste code and the description.

Waste code Type of waste
020103, 191207, 200201 Untreated wood and plant matter

Key conditions

Waste must be stored in a secure location before it is used.

You can store and use up to 100 tonnes of mulch in any month.

You should only use as much waste as is needed to achieve the intended benefit. If you apply more mulch than appears reasonable, the Environment Agency may consider this as disposal of waste.

Other things you need to know

This exemption can be carried out along a linear place such as a highway. Read guidance on ‘meaning of place’ for a linear site.

The total amount used at one place in a specified period must not be exceeded.

U10: spreading of waste on agricultural land to confer benefit

U11: spreading waste on non-agricultural land to confer benefit

T6: treatment of waste wood and waste plant matter by chipping, shredding, cutting or pulverising

Register a U12 exemption

You need to register this exemption with the Environment Agency if you meet the requirements.

Published 28 April 2014