Hazardous Waste Legislation

When waste is harmful either to human health or the environment, it is known as hazardous waste in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and as special waste in Scotland. If you produce, handle, transport, recover or dispose of this type of waste, there are certain requirements that you must comply with.

Registration or pre-notification

If you produce hazardous waste in England or Wales you must register your premises with the Environment Agency before any waste is moved from your premises.

In England since 6 April 2009 you are exempt from registering if you produce less than 500 kilograms of hazardous waste per year. In Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government is consulting on changes to the Hazardous Waste (Wales) Regulations 2005. Currently you only need to register with the Environment Agency in Wales if you produce more than 500 kilograms of hazardous waste. The Environment Agency has decided to apply the proposed new limit while it waits for the outcome of the consultation.

If you produce hazardous waste in Northern Ireland, you must pre-notify the Northern Ireland Environment Agency between three working days and one month before it is moved.

If you produce special waste in Scotland, you must pre-notify the Scottish Environment Protection Agency between three working days and one month before it is moved.

Your other responsibilities

There are other requirements you must comply with. These include:

  • Storage - you must ensure hazardous waste is stored securely in suitable containers.
  • Segregation - you must not mix different types of hazardous waste and you must not mix hazardous waste with non-hazardous waste or with materials that are not waste.
  • Written Details - you should provide written instructions for your employees about how to store and dispose of the hazardous waste you produce, and draw up an inventory of all the hazardous waste on your premises in case the emergency services ever need it.
  • Inspection - you should examine containers of hazardous waste at least weekly.
  • Handling and Transportation - your hazardous waste must only be transported by an organisation authorised to do so. If you are transporting hazardous waste you must comply with dangerous goods legislation.
  • Recovery or Disposal - hazardous waste must be disposed of at an appropriately authorised facility.
  • Paperwork - a consignment note must be completed for every load of hazardous waste you transfer from your premises. These notes must be kept for three years.