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What are exempt waste operations?

For many years, certain waste operations have been exempt from the need to hold an environmental permit (formerly a waste management licence). These operations are not unregulated but are subject to a lighter touch regulation requiring those who carry them out to comply with certain rules and not cause harm to the environment.

The Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2010 states that most activities to manage waste should have a permit, with the exception that a few operations are exempt, but do need to be registered. See Environmental Permitting Guidance on waste exemptions and related core guidance issued by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on the Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2010.

Who registers exempt waste operations?

Most exempt waste operations are registered by the Environment Agency (EA), however Councils also register the following two types of waste treatment activity:

  • Treating waste metals or alloys by heating to remove grease, oil or any other non-metallic contaminant (also called a category T3 activity)
  • Treating waste bricks, tiles or concrete by crushing, grinding or size reduction (also called a category T7 activity)

More about T3 and T7 activities

T3 activities are the treatment of waste metals for the purposes of removing grease, oil and any non-metallic contaminant by heating in an appliance. To qualify as a T3 exempt waste operation, the activity must also meet the following criteria:

  •  The total quantity of waste stored at any one time must not exceed 10 tonnes
  •  The waste must be stored in a secure location with sealed drainage
  •  The appliance (or aggregate of all appliances used together) must be less than 0.2 megawatts net rated thermal input
  •  Must not be used for the removal of plastic and rubber from scrap cable or any asbestos contaminant

T7 activities are the crushing, grinding or other size reduction of waste bricks, tiles or concrete typically using small-scale/micro crushers and can include some mobile plants. If you operate a mobile plant then your principal place of business must be within the Mid Devon District, otherwise you should contact the local authority where you reside. If your principal place of business is outside the United Kingdom, we can still register your exemption if the activity is to be carried out within our district.

To quality as a T7 exempt waste operation the activity must also meet the following criteria:

  • The total quantity of waste treated over any period of 1 hour should not exceed 20 tonnes
  • The total quantity of waste stored at any one time must not exceed 200 tonnes
  • The waste must be stored in a secure location prior to treatment
  • Must not release into the air certain substances (defined in paragraph 6(3) of Part I of Schedule 1 of the Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2010,except in quantities which are so trivial that it is incapable of causing pollution or its capacity to cause pollution is insignificant

If you carry out the above activities but cannot meet the specific criteria, then it is likely that a full permit under the regulation is required.

How do I register my T3 or T7 exempt waste operation?

Please download our application form WEX Registration Form [164kb]. Only the form provided can be used to register your waste exemption. All details of how to complete the application and where to send it are provided on the form itself.

How much does it cost to register?

There is no charge to register.

How quickly will my exemption be registered?

We will acknowledge your application as soon as we receive it by post or email. We will then aim to process this and write to you within five working days confirming whether your activity has been registered. If we require additional information we will contact you and in some cases this may mean it takes longer to complete the registration process.

How long will my registration be valid for?

Registration lasts for three years. After this time you will need to renew your exemptions. We will remind you when your renewal is due and invite you to register again, one month before its due to end.

If you already have one or more exempt waste operations at any one place and you wish to add an additional exempt operation of the same type at a later date, then the additional registration will be valid until the date of renewal for the first registration. You can renew a registration at any time in the month prior to the renewal date, up to the date the existing registration becomes invalid.

Public register of exempt operations

As the exemption registration authority, we are required to maintain an up to date public register of establishments or undertakings with a valid T3 or T7 exempt waste operation (see 'Who registers exempt waste operations?' above for a description of these activities). The public register is available during our normal office opening hours and is free to inspect, see Contact details and opening hours.

Need more information?

If you have any queries or you need more information about exempt waste operations, please Contact us.

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