Guidance

Waste exemptions: disposing of waste

A list of exemptions covering disposing of waste. Find the one that could apply to your waste operation if you meet the requirements.

D1: depositing waste from dredging inland waters

This exemption allows you to deposit dredging spoil (dredgings) on the banks of the waters it was dredged from and to treat it by screening and removing water.

Types of activity you can carry out

These include when:

  • a contractor is involved in clearing silt from sections of a river and deposits the dredgings on the banks of the river

  • a contractor is involved in clearing silt and plant matter from sections of a canal. The contractor screens the dredgings to remove litter and then deposits the dredgings to let the water drain away. When the water has drained, the dredgings are taken away for spreading on land under an environmental permit

Types of activity you can’t carry out

You can’t:

  • deposit dredgings on the bank of a different inland water or deposit dredgings from any other waters - this is to prevent the spread of contamination or invasive non-native species, and to keep outside the requirements of the Landfill Directive
  • deposit dredgings that are hazardous waste - this is also to keep outside the requirements of the Landfill Directive
  • treat dredgings other than by screening or removing water

Types of waste you can deposit

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

Waste code Type of waste
170506 Dredging spoil not containing dangerous substances

Quantity of waste you can deposit

Over any 12 month period, you can deposit or treat up to 50 cubic metres of dredgings for each metre length of land on which waste is deposited.

D1: key conditions

The waste must be deposited as close as possible to where it was dredged from.

The waste must be deposited either:

  • on the bank of the waters from where it was dredged
  • or on land next to the water it was dredged from (the dredgings must be removed from the waterway and deposited mechanically in one operation)

This means that you can’t deposit onto a bank and then move it further away by the same or another machine.

What else you need to know

A river or canal may be an example of a place which can be regarded as a ‘linear network’ for the purpose of registering this exemption. Guidance on the meaning of place

Non-hazardous dredgings that are deposited alongside the waterway from where they are dredged are excluded from the Landfill Directive. This can apply to dredgings placed into a lagoon.

As well as registering this exemption, you may also need to comply with other legislation. In particular, this may apply if you also carry out the U1 exemption.

This could include:

  • planning permission - contact your local planning authority to find out if you need to make an application
  • flood defence consent - call us on 03708 506 506* and ask for our Partnerships and Strategic Overview team for your area
  • if you are raising levels or building in the floodplain or near an ordinary watercourse, contact your lead local flood authority (County Council, Unitary Authority or Internal Drainage Board) to discuss whether you need any consent other than planning permission

*information on call charges

You can use dredgings in construction under:

U1: use of waste in construction

You can spread plant matter that is strimmed along the banks of the river where you have cut it under:

U13: spreading plant matter to provide benefits

You can spread dredgings produced from creating or maintaining habitats, ditches or ponds within parks, gardens, fields and forests only under:

Register a D1 exemption

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

Apply for an environmental permit

You need to apply for an environmental permit if:

  • you want to treat or deposit more waste than this exemption allows
  • your lagoon is not excluded from the Landfill Directive
  • you want to spread dredgings to land or use dredgings in construction but cannot comply with the limits and conditions of those exemptions listed under related exemptions

D2: depositing waste from a railway sanitary convenience

Some older rolling stock, for example forming part of a vintage steam train, has not been or cannot be fitted with appropriate collection facilities. This exemption allows this rolling stock to deposit sanitary waste onto the track.

Latest standards for train design require collection of waste from the toilet but still allow deposit of waste water from hand wash basins and kitchen sinks.

Types of activity you can carry out

This exemption allows you to discharge waste from a train sink or sanitary convenience onto a railway track.

Types of activity you can’t carry out

You can’t:

  • discharge waste from a sanitary convenience from any other type of vehicle such as a bus
  • discharge any other types of waste onto a railway track
  • bring in sanitary waste from trains operating on a different railway line

Types of waste you can deposit

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

Waste code Type of waste
200399 Waste from railway sanitary conveniences only

Quantity of waste you can deposit

There is no limit on the number of discharges that can be made, but you can only deposit up to 25 litres of waste per discharge.

More than one railway operating company can register this exemption at the same place at the same time.

D2: key conditions

For the purposes of this exemption, waste from a railway sanitary convenience means waste from any toilet or sink located in a railway carriage for carrying passengers.

What else you need to know

A railway is an example of a place which can be regarded as a ‘linear network’ for the purpose of registering this exemption. Guidance on the meaning of place

You can deposit waste from a portable toilet under:

D3: depositing waste from a portable sanitary convenience

Register a D2 exemption

You need to register this exemption with us if you meet the requirements:

Apply for an environmental permit

D3: depositing waste from a portable sanitary convenience

This exemption allows you to bury waste from a portable toilet to avoid small quantities having to be transported long distances to sewage treatment works.

Types of activity you can carry out

This includes:

  • a small group of boy scouts is camping at a remote site for a night with portable toilets, and intends to bury the waste from the toilets

Types of activity you can’t carry out

You can’t:

  • deposit waste from a non-portable sanitary convenience
  • deposit waste by spreading or tipping it onto land
  • bring toilet waste in from other places to deposit on your land
  • bury cesspit waste

Type of waste you can deposit

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

Waste code Type of waste
200399 Waste from portable sanitary conveniences only

Amount of waste you can deposit

You can deposit up to one cubic metre of waste in any 12 month period.

D3: key conditions

You must not deposit waste within 10 metres of any watercourse or 50 metres of any spring, well or borehole.

You can only bury waste at the place of production. This means the place where the toilet is used.

Other things you need to know

In most cases it is better to dispose of the waste to a foul sewer at sites specially designed to do this. Most permanent campsites and caravan sites usually have a chemical toilet disposal point.

You can deposit waste from a railway sanitary convenience under:

D2: depositing waste from a railway sanitary convenience

Register a D3 exemption

You need to register this exemption with us if you meet the requirements:

Apply for an environmental permit

If you want to discharge sewage via a septic tank or similar treatment process, read our guidance on water discharge and groundwater activity permits

D4: depositing agricultural waste consisting of plant tissue under a Plant Health Notice

This exemption allows you to deposit diseased crops, where they were grown, when a Plant Health Notice has been issued. This is to reduce the risk of spreading plant diseases or pests.

Types of activity you can carry out

This includes:

  • disposing of diseased or spoilt crops on your farm if you have been issued with a Plant Health Notice

Types of activity you can’t carry out:

You can’t:

  • dispose of spoilt crops that are not the subject of a Plant Health Notice
  • import crops from other farms that are also subject to a Plant Health Notice
  • allow landscape gardeners and tree surgeons to bring back wood and plant tissue from their jobs and deposit them at your farm

Types of waste you can deposit

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

Waste code Type of waste
020103 Plant tissue waste

Amount of waste you can deposit

Where waste is placed in a pile, each pile of waste must be no more than 250 tonnes.

D4: key conditions

You must not deposit diseased crops:

  • within 10 metres of any watercourse, including rivers and streams, or within 50 metres of any spring, well or borehole
  • on land that is frozen, covered with snow or waterlogged
  • on land that has been frozen for 12 hours or more in the 24 hours before you want to spread it

You cannot place piles of waste immediately next to each other.

These conditions are to reduce the risk of polluting watercourses or groundwater.

The deposit can only take place at the farm where the crops were grown.

T6: treating waste wood and waste plant matter by chipping, shredding, cutting or pulverizing

T23: aerobic composting and associated prior treatment

T24: anaerobic digestion at premises used for agriculture and burning of resulting biogas

T25: anaerobic digestion at premises not used for agriculture and burning of resulting biogas

U10: spreading waste to benefit agricultural land

U12: using mulch

U13: spreading plant matter to provide benefits

You can’t use these other exemptions if the Plant Health Notice requires that the plant tissue is destroyed.

Register a D4 exemption

You need to register this exemption with us if you meet the requirements:

Apply for an environmental permit

D5: depositing waste samples for testing or analysis

This exemption allows you to deposit and store waste samples, where these are required to comply with or enforce specified regulations, or before testing and analysis for research.

Types of activity you can carry out

These include:

  • a waste management company deposits and stores a sample of waste for testing, to make sure it has the correct description of the waste for Duty of Care purposes
  • waste is collected and stored before being analysed to find out the range of constituents making up a waste stream and its potential uses

Types of activity you can’t carry out

You can’t:

  • carry out field research under this exemption, as it only permits storing and depositing waste before it is tested or analysed

Types of waste you can deposit

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

Type of waste

Only samples of waste collected as listed under key conditions.

Quantity of waste you can deposit

You can deposit or store up to 10 tonnes of waste at any one time.

You can store the waste for up to 12 months or longer if ordered by a court.

D5: key conditions

Samples of waste collected in the following circumstances may be deposited or stored under this exemption before testing or analysis.

Exercising power under:

  • Chapter 12 of the Radioactive Substances Act 1993
  • Chapter 40 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974
  • Section 5 of the Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act 1989 (as amended by Section 37 of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005)
  • The Environmental Protection Act 1990
  • The Water Resources Act 1991
  • Chapter 56 of the Water Industry Act 1991
  • The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2006 (as amended)
  • The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007
  • Regulation 88 of the Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009
  • by or on behalf of the holder of an environmental permit
  • by or on behalf of a person carrying on in relation to the waste:
    • a waste operation covered by an exemption
    • a waste operation carried out under a licence issued under the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 (or not needing a licence by an order made under that Act)
  • by or on behalf of the owner or occupier of the land from which the samples are taken
  • by or on behalf of any person to whom Section 34(1) or 34(1A) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (as amended) applies in connection with that person’s duties under that section
  • by or on behalf of any person to whom the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007 apply in connection with that person’s duties under those regulations.
  • for the purposes of research

What else you need to know

Hazardous waste is subject to the Hazardous Waste Regulations.

Register a D5 exemption

You need to register this exemption with us if you meet the requirements:

Apply for an environmental permit

D6: disposal by incineration

This exemption allows you to dispose of small amounts of specific waste that have been produced on your site, in an incinerator.

Types of activity you can carry out

This includes:

  • a joinery firm produces off-cuts of clean, untreated wood waste which it burns in a purpose-built incinerator with a design capacity of less than 50 kilograms per hour

Types of activity you can’t carry out

You can’t:

  • incinerate someone else’s waste or take your waste to another place for burning
  • burn other types of waste than those listed below
  • burn treated wood waste, for example treated pallets, painted wooden door frames
  • use this exemption to burn waste as a fuel for producing heat or power, see related exemptions
  • use this exemption to burn waste in the open, see related exemptions

Types of waste you can burn

To meet this exemption, the wastes have to be specifically excluded from the Industrial Emissions Directive. The relevant excluded wastes are:

  • vegetable waste from agriculture and forestry
  • wood waste (except wood waste treated with preservatives or coatings)
  • cork waste
  • animal carcasses

Waste streams that you can burn under this exemption include:

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

Waste code Type of waste
020103 Plant tissue waste (from agriculture, horticulture, aquaculture and fishing)
020107 Untreated wood from forestry only
030101 Waste bark and cork
030105 Untreated sawdust and wood shavings only
030301 Waste bark and wood
150103 Untreated wooden packaging only
170201 Untreated wood

Quantity of waste you can burn

You can burn waste in an incinerator that has a capacity of less than 50 kilograms per hour and a net rated thermal input of less than 0.4 megawatt.

You can store up to 5 tonnes of waste at any one time before burning.

D6: key conditions

If there is more than one appliance, the total net rated thermal input must be less than 0.4MW (for example, 4 x 0.1MW appliances).

Only the person who produced the waste can burn the waste in an incinerator.

What else you need to know

Animal by-products

If you will be incinerating animal carcasses only you do not have to register this exemption. Instead, you will need an approval from Defra’s Animal Health section, which deals with the Animal By-Product Regulations.

If you are incinerating animal carcasses along with other wastes allowed here, you will need to register this exemption as well as obtaining the relevant approval from Animal Health.

You can chip untreated waste wood from joinery under exemption T6: treating waste wood and waste plant matter by chipping, shredding, cutting or pulverizing

Then use the wood chip for animal bedding under exemption U8: using waste for a specified purpose

You can compost plant tissue under exemption T23: aerobic composting

You can burn untreated wood waste, for example hedge cuttings, in the open where it was produced under exemption D7: burning waste in the open

Register a D6 exemption

You need to register this exemption with us if you meet the requirements:

Apply for an environmental permit

You will need an environmental permit if:

  • your appliance or group of appliances has/have a net thermal rated input of more than 0.4MW
  • you wish to burn more than 50kg of waste over any period of one hour
  • you want to burn any other types of waste not listed in this exemption

D7: burning waste in the open

This exemption allows you to burn plant tissue and untreated wood waste from joinery or manufacturing in the open air.

Type of activity you can carry out

This includes:

  • a landscape gardener has trimmed hedges and branches and wants to burn them on a bonfire at the same place

You can’t:

  • burn other types of waste other than those listed below
  • bring waste from elsewhere to burn
  • burn treated wood waste or wood waste coming from any source other than listed
  • use this exemption to burn waste in an incinerator for disposal (see related exemptions)
  • use this exemption to burn waste in a boiler to produce heat and power (see related exemptions)

Types of waste you can treat

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

Waste code Type of waste
020103, 020107, 200201 Plant tissue
030105 Sawdust, shavings and cuttings from untreated wood only
030301 Waste bark and wood

Quantity of waste you can treat

You can:

  • burn up to 10 tonnes of waste in any 24 hour period
  • store up to 20 tonnes of waste at any one time
  • store waste for up to 6 months before burning, to allow certain wood waste to dry out

D7: key conditions

The burning must take place on open land, not in an incinerator or a building.

You should be careful to position the bonfire where it will not cause nuisance to neighbours through excessive smoke or odour.

The burning must take place only at the place where the waste is produced.

You can burn untreated wood waste in a boiler to produce heat and power under exemption U4: burning waste as fuel in a small appliance

You can compost plant tissue under exemption T23: aerobic composting

You can chip untreated waste wood from joinery under exemption T6: treating waste wood and waste plant matter by chipping, shredding, cutting or pulverizing then use the wood chip for animal bedding under exemption U8: using waste for a specified purpose

These options above are preferable to burning in the open air because they result in recovering the waste rather than disposing of it.

You can burn waste in an incinerator to dispose of the waste rather than using it as a fuel under [D6: disposal by incineration]{:#D6}

Register a D8 exemption

You need to register this exemption with us if you meet the requirements:

Apply for an environmental permit

D8: burning waste at a port under a Plant Health Notice

This exemption only allows you to burn plant tissue waste and wood packaging and packing material waste, at a port, when a Plant Health Notice has been served to prevent the spread of plant diseases.

Type of activity you can’t carry out

You can’t:

  • burn waste that is not the subject of a Plant Health Notice
  • burn waste at a place other than the port where the waste was unloaded
  • burn waste other than those listed below under ‘Types of waste you can dispose of’
  • burn treated wood waste, for example treated pallets
  • use this exemption to burn waste in a boiler to produce heat and power
  • use this exemption to burn plant tissue waste in the open other than at a port

Types of waste you can dispose of

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

Waste code Type of waste
020103, 020107, 020304, 200201 Plant tissue only
150103, 200138 Wood used to wedge or support parts of cargo, including packing material, spacers and pallets only

Quantity of waste you can dispose of

You can burn up to 10 tonnes of waste in any 24 hour period.

D8: key conditions

The burning must be required under a Plant Health Notice.

The burning can take place only at the port where the waste is unloaded.

The storage and burning must take place in a secure place

Register a D8 exemption

You need to register this exemption with us if you meet the requirements:

Apply for an environmental permit

Definitions

Bank

A bank, wall or embankment adjoining or confining, or constructed for the purposes of, or in connection with, any channel (includes all land between the bank and low-watermark).

Dredgings or dredging spoil

D1 exemption: includes plant matter that is removed from inland waters.

Hazardous waste

See How to classify different types of waste

Invasive non-native species

Any animal or plant introduced from outside the UK that could spread and cause damage to the environment, the economy, and people’s health and the way they live.

Inland waters

Means the whole or any part of:

(a) any river, stream or other watercourse (within the meaning of Chapter II of Part II of the Water Resources Act 1991), whether natural or artificial and whether tidal or not (b) any lake or pond, whether natural or artificial, or any reservoir or dock, in so far as the lake, pond, reservoir or dock does not fall within paragraph (a) of this definition; (c) and so much of any channel, creek, bay, estuary or arm of the sea as does not fall within paragraph (a) or (b) of this definition.

Net rated thermal input

The rate at which fuel can be burned at the maximum continuous rating of the appliance multiplied by the net calorific value of the fuel and expressed as megawatts

Place of production

The place where waste was originally produced.

Plant Health Notice

A notice served under:

  • Article 12 of the Plant Health (Phytophthora ramorum) (England) Order 2004
  • Article 13 of the Plant Health (Phytophthora ramorum) (Wales) Order 2006
  • Article 31 of the Plant Health (Forestry) Order 2005
  • Article 32 of the Plant Health (England) Order 2005
  • Article 32 of the Plant Health (Wales) Order 2006

Plant tissue waste

All materials of plant origin such as trees, branches with or without foliage, shrubbery, leaves or foliage wood and vegetation.

Port

A port appointed by order made under Section 19 of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979.

Secure

A container, lagoon or other place is secure in relation to waste kept in it if:

  • all reasonable precautions are taken to make sure the waste cannot escape
  • members of the public cannot gain access to the waste

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