Start now on the Scottish Environment Protection Agency website
You must be licensed by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) if you treat, keep, or dispose of waste in Scotland.
- products whose date for appropriate use has expired
- contaminated or soiled materials
- unusable parts
- substances that no longer perform satisfactorily
- residues of industrial processes
- machining/finishing residues
- other production or consumption residues
- materials, substances or products whose use has been banned
- discarded products
How to apply
There are 2 types of waste management licence:
- site licence for businesses that treat, keep, or dispose of waste in or on land
- mobile plant licence for businesses that treat or dispose of waste with a plant that is designed to or can be moved from place to place
Application forms for both licences are available on the SEPA website.
Information to include
You need to provide details including information about your financial standing, any previous convictions for environmental offences and technical competence to manage the site or plant. You must also include details of the site or plant operation and the type of activity you want to carry out.
You should submit the following documents with your application:
- company registration or partnership documents
- details of qualifying experience - eg a certificate issued by the Waste Management Industry Training and Advisory Board (WAMITAB)
- any other relevant documents
- an application fee based on the type of activity and the amount and type of waste to be kept, treated or disposed of
For site licences, you should also provide:
- copies of a site location plan
- evidence of land occupancy
- planning permission
- a working plan that explains how the site is to be developed and operated
- other relevant documents - eg an environmental statement or hydrogeological report
You should send your licence application and supporting documents to the SEPA office responsible for the area where your facility is located or, for plant operators, where you have your principal place of business.
Licences will be subject to any conditions that SEPA consider necessary to prevent environmental pollution, harm to human health or serious detriment to the amenities of that area. If you don’t follow the conditions of your licence, you will be guilty of an offence and could be fined up to £5,000.
You can be fined, imprisoned for up to 5 years or both if you don’t get licence when required to do so.
Your licence may be suspended or revoked if you are convicted of a relevant environmental offence or if the continuation of the activities authorised by the licence would cause pollution, harm human health or be seriously detrimental to the amenities of that area.
Certain activities involving the recovery or disposal of waste are exempt from the requirement to be licensed, as long as they don’t cause pollution or endanger human health. However, you are still required to register that activity with SEPA. You can be fined up to £5,000 if you don’t.
Notification forms and a list of exempt activities are available on the SEPA website.
Some waste management activities, such as landfilling, incineration and disposal of hazardous waste, require a pollution prevention and control (PPC) permit from SEPA instead.