Why Do I Need to Have Waste Carriers Licences on File for All of my Waste Contractors?

Last weeks blog (that you can read here), we discuss Duty of Care and what that means.  One of the ways we mentioned to demonstrate Duty of Care is making sure that all of your contractors have Waste Carriers Licences.  This blog will discuss what those licences are and what to look out for.

What is a Waste Carriers Licence?

If you carry waste on the public highway, you must have a valid Waste Carriers Licence.  This applies to any business that transports, buys, sells or disposes of waste or arranges for someone else to buy, sell or dispose of waste.  This does not have to be your main area of business, only a part of what you do.

Where can I get a copy the licence?

Your waste carrier or broker (who arranges for subcontractors to collect your waste) should be able to provide you with a copy of their licences.  Failing that, the Environment Agency holds a central register where you can check if your contractors are registered.  If you take this option, make sure to keep a dated screenshot of the check.  You may also want to carry out regular checks of the register to ensure the waste carriers licences remain valid.

What do I need to look for in the licence?

There are two types of waste carriers licences: an upper and a lower tier licence.  Most carriers will have an upper tier licence, which expires every 3 years.  You will need to make sure that the copy you have is in date and obtain a renewed copy when it expires.  Lower tier carriers only carry waste that they produce and do not expire.  An example of a lower tier carrier is a contractor that comes onto site to wash vehicles and collects the effluent for disposal.  They will not be allowed to take any other waste away for you.

Why do I need the licence on file?

Checking your waste carriers is part of an overarching legal requirement called Duty of Care.  This is an obligation that you have as a producer of waste to ensure that it is being dealt with legally and correctly even after it has left your possession.  In the event of your waste being disposed of incorrectly, you must be able to demonstrate that you did everything in your power to ensure your waste was dealt with properly.  One part of that is making sure that your waste carriers can legally carry your waste.

In order to ensure that your waste is dealt with safely and legally, there are various requirements under Duty of Care, which includes ensuring your waste contractors have a waste carriers licence.  You should have a copy of the licence on file and ensure it is valid and in date.  Next week, we will discuss the requirements for disposal site permits and licences.