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UK charging schemes

UK charging schemes

Some charges are included in UK regulations:

Control of Major Accident Hazards

Under Regulation 28 of the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 2015, the competent authority has the power to charge operators for the regulatory work carried out under COMAH. Each member of the competent authority has a separate charge rate which is calculated in relation to the costs of that authority. These rates are reviewed annually and incorporated in amended regulations.

Charges cover the following functions:

  • Examining upper tier operators’ safety reports [regulation 22] and communicating the results of the examination to operators.
  • Inspection to assess compliance at upper and lower tier sites [regulation 25], including all preparatory and follow-up activities.
  • Investigating complaints and incidents, to check operator compliance with COMA.
  • Carrying out enforcement activities, including preparation and serving of Improvement or Notices Prohibiting operations, including preparation of the Prohibition Notice and discussions with the operator [regulations 23].
  • Work to designate establishments as having potential for domino effects [regulation 24].

Charge rates

The hourly charge out rate is £206 (per inspector hour).

Administrative and financial arrangements

Previously the Health and Safety Executive was responsible for administration of the charging scheme and issued and collected payments on SEPA’s behalf, however since 1 April 2017, SEPA has undertaken its own invoicing. Timesheets are generated for all chargeable time and these should accompany invoices to operators. Operators are invoiced within 30 days of the end of each financial quarter (30 June, 30 September, 31 December and 31 March).

Full details of the COMAH regulations and charging guides can be found at Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) or on  the Health and Safety Executive’s website .

Special waste

Service status update: Special waste consignment notes

What are we able to do now?

SEPA remains unable to sell pre-coded printed special waste consignment notes due to the reduced use of SEPA offices. However, the codes must still be purchased directly from SEPA.

What should you do now?

It remains important to maintain compliant hazardous waste management.

Follow the steps in this temporary regulatory position statement and purchase codes directly from SEPA by telephone on 07787 009638 and 07787 009662 or email (Note: these are new contact details).

The Special Waste Regulations (1996) came into force on 1 September 1996 and made the agencies responsible for the supervision of persons and activities specified in the regulations.

Fees were specified in the regulations dependent on the type of waste. Special waste, as defined under the special waste regulations (1996), includes waste which has the potential to cause the most harm to health and/or the environment. Movements of special waste must be accompanied by a coded consignment note.

The types of code are prefixed by:

  • SA: Prefix applies to all other consignments
  • SB: Prefix for consignments consisting entirely of lead acid batteries
  • SC: Prefix for consignments where a fee is not required e.g. extended carrier rounds and removal of waste from a ship in a harbour area.
Type of consignment note Price per consignment
SA £15
SB £10
SC £0


Special waste notes refund policy
We will only issue a credit or refund for unused consignment note codes which have been purchased from us and returned in full (five parts). We will deduct a charge of £5 from any credit or refund to cover processing and administrative costs.

No refunds will be made where consignment notes purchased from us have been marked or completed wholly or in part, or, where a code only has been purchased from us and that code has been used to pre-notify the movement of special waste even if the movement does not consequently take place.

Where numbered consignment notes have been issued, these must be returned to us prior to any credit or refund.

Credit or refund will only be considered for codes purchased from us less than 18 months ago.

All requests for credit or refund should be made in writing to the Special Waste Consignment Note Administrator through our online contact form

Further information is available on our list of frequently asked questions.