Are you a waste carrier?

Prior to 2014, businesses carrying their own waste did not need a licence  but in 2014, the law about waste carrier licenses changed and, since 1 January 2014, anyone who carries waste, including their own, during their business activities must hold a waste carriers license.

In England and Wales, there are two ‘tiers’ of registration; lower for those who only carry their own waste and higher for those who carry waste from other persons or businesses, whether or not they are paid to do so.

Lower tier registration is simple and free and very worth doing since, even if you only carry waste occasionally, you must hold a waste license and can be fined up to £5000 each time you are caught carrying waste without one.

Higher tier registration is more complex and requires both renewal and fee payment (currently £154) every three years.

Northern Ireland also operates the two tier system.

In Scotland, there are no requirements for lower tier registrations. Instead, if you carry your own waste, you must notify SEPA that you are a ‘professional collector and transporter of waste’.

Is your waste carrier licensed?

In addition to any obligations you may have for carrying waste, if you produce waste that you pass to someone else, you need to make sure that they are licensed to carry waste and that you know where the waste is going to end up. Bear in mind that these obligations apply to anything that you are disposing of – not just ‘rubbish’ – and so if you are clearing your offices, you can still only pass things to a licensed carrier and must still know where everything is going to end up. If illegally deposited materials can be traced back to you, you risk prosecution!

You can check whether the person collecting your unwanted items and waste holds a license on the government website. There are different registers for each of the regional administrations and you may need to check more than one register. You can also ask the driver to show you a copy of their license.

To find out more about the paperwork needed, read our guide to waste types.

if you have any questions about waste licensing, or what your obligations are, please contact us.