Do I Need A Permit To Store Waste At My Premises?

All businesses generate waste and most will store it prior to collection for final disposal.  There are many legal requirements surrounding waste and this blog will discuss requirements for specifically storing waste.

The Law

Activities that have the potential to pollute the air, water or land, increase flood risk or adversely affect land drainage must have an Environmental Permit.  This includes waste operations where waste is recycled, stored, treated or disposed of.  An environmental permit is not required if you can meet the requirements of an exemption, which are categorised into use of, storage of, disposal of and storage of waste.  What you will need depends on the type and quantity of waste you are storing and how it was produced.

Non-Framework Directive Exemptions

Some exemptions, called Non Waste Framework Directive (NWFD) exemptions, do not need to be registered.  For waste storage, there are three NWFD exemptions:

  • NWFD 2: Temporary storage at the place of production
  • NWFD 3: Temporary storage of waste at a place controlled by the producer
  • NWFD 4: Temporary storage at a collection point.

This allows you to store waste at your place of business, or somewhere you control without needing to register anything, so long as the environment is not at risk.  These exemptions have certain conditions that must be abided by, for example, you cannot provide a waste management service, can only store waste temporarily and each exemption has waste quantity limits.

Environmental Permitting Exemptions

If the NWFD requirements cannot be met, there is the option of registering an environmental permitting exemption.  There are three exemptions:

  • S1: Storing waste in secure containers
  • S2: Storing waste in a secure place
  • S3: Storing sludge

These exemptions need to be registered with the Environment Agency, free of charge, prior to the activity taking place.  The conditions of the exemption registered need to be followed and include limits on the type and quantity of waste, how long waste can be stored for and other key conditions.

Environmental Permit

If you cannot meet the conditions of any exemptions, you will probably need an Environmental Permit, ususally required for commercial waste operations.  There are Standard Rules permits (where you need to meet certain requirements and set rules) and Bespoke permits (where the permit conditions are made specific to your operation).  Permits have much more comprehensive requirements you must adhere to and will need to be financed.

If you are generating normal office waste as part of your day-to-day activities, it is likely that you will meet a NWFD exemption and will not need to take any action, other than ensuring your waste does not pollute the environment.  However, if you cannot meet those conditions, you may need to register an exemption or get an Environmental Permit from the Environment Agency and meet those requirements.  If you are doing anything other than storing the waste (i.e. treating, using or disposing of it), you will need to ensure you have further permissions in place for this activity.