Legislative Update: Changes to Exemptions

DEFRA and the Welsh Government published a consultation on ‘proposals to tackle crime and poor performance in the waste sector and introduce a new fixed penalty for the waste duty of care’, as a result they published a document setting out their approach for reforms to the waste exemption regime.

Currently the Waste Exemption Regime provides a system where relatively low risk waste activities can be carried out under a registration system and are exempt from holding an Environmental Permit.

In summary the reforms will mean that operators of some exempt activities will need to stop, change what they are doing or obtain an Environmental Permit.

Below is a summary of general changes to be made to the Waste Exemptions Regime:

Prohibiting the use of waste exemptions in specified circumstances

  • Prohibiting the use of exemptions at or adjacent to permitted sites.

This will mean that operators will have to apply for a Permit Variation to include the activities currently carried out under the Exemption, or cease activities.

  • Limiting the number of exemptions registered at a site.

Currently the Regulations allow for the registration of multiple exemptions at a single site which can lead to complex waste activities, going forward where more than one exemption is registered each waste type will be limited to the lowest limit set in those exemptions registered.

S1 and S2 exemptions cannot be registered where there is a direct link to any other exemption.

Requiring additional information to support effective regulation.

  • Compulsory requirement for operators to keep and make records available on request.

Environmental Permitting Regulations will be amended to include general record keeping and production duty to all exempt waste operations. Records will have to be kept for the duration of the exempt activity and for one year following cessation of the activity.

  • Requirement for operators to keep records in an electronic format.

This is in line with the ‘introduction of mandatory digital waste tracking’ consultation.

  • The ability for regulators to impose additional information requirements.

Regulators will be able to request additional information as required.

Improving Regulation of Exemptions

  • Exemption Charges

Any new charges will be subject to further consultation by the Regulators.

Technical Changes to Exemptions

  • Waste Codes

Various changes of codes, and Removal of codes ending in ‘99’.

  • Consistency of conditions across exemptions
  • Other amendments to the Environmental Permitting Regulations

Summary of Changes to Specific Waste Exemptions:

Exemption U1 – Use of Waste in Construction

  • Changes to be made to restrict waste types, quantities and activities in relation to specific construction activities.
  • Change of name to ‘Use of Wastes to construct and maintain surfaces and barriers’.
  • Time Frame for change – 12 months from Regulations coming into force.

Exemption T4 – Preparatory treatments, such as baling, sorting, shredding.

  • Changes to be made to reduce storage limits and amend the conditions for specified waste types to ensure more frequent turnover and reduce stockpiling
  • Time Frame for change – 6 months from Regulations coming into force.

Exemption T6 – Treating waste wood and waste plant matter but chipping, shredding, cutting or pulverising

  • Changes to be made to reduce storage limits and amend conditions for specified waste types to ensure better turnover and reduce stockpiling.
  • Time Frame for change – 6 months from Regulations coming into force.

Exemptions S1, S2 and S3 (Storage)

  • These cannot be registered in association with any other exemption or where there is a direct link to a permitted facility.
  • Time Frame for change – 12 months from Regulations coming into force.

Exemptions T8, T9 and U16

  • To be removed – operation will have to be moved to permitting or cease.

What’s next:

It is expected that changes to exemptions will start to roll out during 2024 and continue into 2025 but the timescales have yet to be finalised.

There are over 125,000 exemption registrations in England, the EA will be contacting exempt holders directly this spring asking them to review their exemptions and deregister what they no longer need.

Ecofficiency’s Role:

As the changes come in our Compliance Team will be working with our Supply Chain to remove de- registered exemption, and upload copies of amended permits to ensure waste is managed correctly.

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top