Not having the correct waste permit for work being undertaken on your property can land you in hot water. Alex Madden, partner and environmental and planning specialist at Thrings solicitors, explains.

  • Responsibility is attached to the land, so permits are the responsibility of the person doing the work and, as the courts have recently emphasised, the landowner
  • New sentencing guidelines are likely to result in bigger fines
  • Fines may be up to £50,000 in a Magistrates’ Court and unlimited in a Crown Court
  • When employing contractors for environmental work, check their exemptions/permits on paper and at www.environment-agency.gov.uk
  • If your activity is deemed “low risk”, it may only require a waste exemption and not a permit. Check with the Environment Agency
  • The level of risk partly depends on the amount and nature of the waste
  • A standard rules permit has fixed conditions, so if your activity doesn’t meet these, you will need to apply for a bespoke permit
  • Any activity that has implications for the environment and water may need a permit; for example, spreading digestate, composting and the use of construction waste
  • When employing a contractor, obtain from them a method statement and credentials, check their exemption/permits and hold regular meetings
  • If you suspect a contractor is carrying out activities without a valid exemption/permit, stop the work immediately and seek legal advice

For more information on permits go to www.environment-agency.gov.uk/business/topics/permitting/default.aspx or call the Environment Agency on 03708 506 506

See also: Anaerobic digestion permitting explained