Environmental permitting - exempt waste operations

Environmental permitting - exempt waste operations

The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 (the Environmental Permitting Regulations) require that most activities that treat waste must have an environmental permit from the Environment Agency. However certain waste operations qualify for an 'exemption' from the requirement for a full permit because of their low risk to the environment and human health.

Exempt waste operations are subject to standard conditions, for example that nuisance is not caused, and conditions specific to the type of activity carried on. The activities which qualify for an exemption are not unregulated, but are subject to lighter touch regulation, and they still need to be registered. If they do not comply with the conditions and limitations on the amount of waste handled, then the exemption may cease to apply, they may require a full permit and/or they may face enforcement action by the regulator.

Details of waste exemptions are provided on the Government's webpages.

Most permits for waste operations and the exemptions are not dealt with by local authorities and it is the Environment Agency who is the regulator and registration authority. However local authorities register two specific waste exemptions:

  • T3 – treatment of waste metals and metal alloys for the purposes of removing grease, oil or any other non-metallic contaminant 

  • T7 – treatment of waste bricks, ceramic tiles and concrete by crushing, grinding or reducing it in size

A full description of T3 and T7 can be found at Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 (the general exemption requirements are in Schedule 2 and the individual descriptions of each exemption and their conditions are in Schedule 3 to the Environmental Permitting Regulations)

The conditions applying to exemptions include, for example, for T3 the waste must be stored in a secure location with sealed drainage, and a T7 activity must be carried on at the place of production, or at the place where the treated waste is to be used.

T3 does not cover the removal by heat of plastic or rubber covering from scrap cable or any asbestos contaminant, nor to an activity listed for regulation under Part A(1), Part A(2) or Part B under Chapter 2 of Schedule 1 to the to the Environmental Permitting Regulations. It covers the heating in an appliance or appliances with a net rated thermal input of less than 0.2 megawatts.

T7 does not apply to any treatment covered by a Part B permitted activity as described in Part B of Section 3.5 (other mineral activities) of Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Environmental Permitting Regulations (e.g. crushing, grinding or other size reduction, with machinery designed for that purpose, of bricks, tiles or concrete).


How to register an exemption with the Council

To register a T3 or T7 exempt waste operation, please use this form.

If the plant is fixed and located within our district, the Council is the regulator.  If you operate mobile plant then we are regulator if your principal place of business is within the city (otherwise you should contact your home local authority).

There is no charge to register.

You cannot register more than one of the same exempt waste operations at the same place at the same time. No more than one company, establishment or undertaking may be registered at the same place for the same exempt waste operation at the same time. Therefore any subsequent registrations for the same waste operation will become invalid. Only the first registered waste operation will be relevant until it is removed or expires.

If you are operating above the thresholds listed within the Environmental Permitting Regulations for each exemption then you must apply for a full environmental permit from the Environment Agency.


How long will my registration be valid for?

Your registration will be valid for three years and you must renew your registration before the registration expires. You can apply for a renewal of your registration up to one month before the expiry date. If you do not apply for a renewal before the expiry date, your registration will be removed and you will no longer be registered for that exempt waste operation.


Making changes to your registration

If you make any changes, for example, change of address, change in the waste operation, changes to the primary contact, you must inform the Council.

Public register of exempt operations

As the exemption registration authority we are required to maintain a public register of establishments or undertakings with a valid T3 or T7 exemption. For more information please contact us.


Waste exemptions and the Environment Agency

All other waste exemption operations described in Schedule 3 of the Environmental Permitting Regulations (with the exception of T22) must be registered with the Environment Agency. Details on how to register other exempt waste activities can be found here:


Waste exemptions and animal health

The Animal & Plant Health Agency is the exemption registration authority for the T22 exemption, which is the treatment of animal by-products.





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