Waste exemption reforms

The DEFRA response on reforming waste exemptions has been published and can be found in the supplementary Government response document and associated Annexes.

The reforms will mean operators of some exempt activities will need to stop, change what they are doing or obtain an environmental permit.

No changes will come into force until the Environmental Permitting Regulations are amended. We don’t expect amendments to EPR before 2024 and timescales will depend on Parliamentary time, etc. Some of the changes include transitional periods to allow industry time to adjust.

The key changes are:

Exemptions to be removed:

  • T8 – Mechanical treatment of end-of-life tyres
  • T9 – Recovery of scrap metal
  • U16 – Use of depolluted end-of-life vehicles for parts

Exemptions to be changed:

  • U1 – Use of waste in construction
  • T4 – Preparatory treatments
  • T6 – Treatment of waste wood and waste plant matter
  • T12 – Manual treatment of waste
  • D7 – Burning waste in the open
  • S1 – Storage of waste
  • S2 – Storage of waste in a secure place

Other changes include:

  • new rules which will be relevant to all exempt holders, for example on record keeping and for sites with multiple registered exemptions
  • new rules on registering exemptions at or adjacent to permitted sites
  • changes to waste codes within other exemptions and removal of codes ending in ‘99’

Please review the DEFRA response for further details of the changes.

There are over 125,000 exemption registrations in England. The EA will be contacting exempt holders directly this spring to ask them to review their exemptions and deregister what they do not need. They will follow this with information on the reforms and FAQs to help exempt holders get ready for the changes.

Amendments to Waste Exemptions for Treatment of Waste Wood

The Amendments to Waste Exemptions include a tightening up of criteria for the treatment of waste wood. This applies to specified activities of sorting, chipping, shredding, compacting (including pelletising and briquetting by compaction), cutting, pulverising, and associated storage of waste wood. The tightened conditions places limits on the total quantity of waste accepted, which cannot be in excess  of 5000 tonnes per year, with a maximum acceptance of 100 tonnes per 7 days.  Storage is limited to three months and restricted to 500 cubic meters with a maximum pile height of 4m. Further details can be found in paragraph 5.4 of the supplementary Government response document and Annex 3.

If you would like to ask any general questions about the reforms please email us at [email protected] and put ‘exemption reforms’ as the subject. Any complaints about the reforms should be directed to DEFRA at [email protected] (03459 33 55 77)

Separate to the above, you may also be interested in the EA’s  Environment Agency National Waste Crime Survey which you can access via this link Waste Crime Survey