Landfill is the disposal of waste which cannot be reused, recycled or recovered, into or onto land. It forms the lowest aspect of the European Waste Framework Directive’s waste hierarchy.
The EU’s Landfill Directive aims to reduce the amount of waste to landfill by finding ways to recover value from waste and develop more sustainable management practices.
Disposal to landfill is the least preferred option in the waste hierarchy and should only be used as a last resort after re-use, recycling and recovery options, as an escalating scale of taxation on materials being sent to landfill has made this an increasingly expensive option.
- How is waste sent to landfill dealt with?
- How is landfill regulated?
- How are permits issued?
- Technical guidance
- Contact us
Waste taken to landfill is managed to prevent odour, litter and pest infestations. The gases produced by the decomposition of the waste – mainly a mix of carbon dioxide and methane – are burned off or used in an on-site energy generation plant.
Landfills are lined on the base and sides prior to waste deposition. As an area of a landfill reaches capacity it is covered with an engineered cap such as clay and restored using soils or other covering materials so that the site can be used in the future for agriculture, amenities or nature conservation. This is repeated for all filled areas.
The Landfill (Scotland) Regulations 2003 and their amendments - in 2003and 2013 - implement the Landfill Directive and set standards for the design and operation of landfills. Landfill sites must be classified as hazardous, non-hazardous, or inert.
The Landfill Allowance Scheme (LAS), which formerly administered a system of banking, borrowing and penalties concerning the disposal of Biodegradable Municipal Waste (BMW), was revoked by the Scottish Government in 2012.
We regulate landfill sites directly through a permit system.
Contact us using our online contact form if your authorisation is required urgently within the next three weeks.
In order to be considered for a permit, operators of landfill sites must submit a variety of conceptual models, management plans and site specific assessments as part of a completed application. We will then assess the application and determine if and when operators may be granted a permit.
Landfill sites are subject to UK landfill tax, however, from 2015, they will be subject to the Landfill Tax (Scotland) Act 2014 .
Landfill gas management
- Guidance on the management of landfill gas
- Guidance for monitoring of trace components in landfill gas
- Guidance on landfill gas flaring
- Guidance on gas treatment technologies for landfill gas engines
- Guidance for monitoring landfill gas engine emissions
- Guidance for monitoring enclosed landfill gas flares
- Guidance on monitoring of landfill leachate, groundwater and surface water
- Engineering (lining and capping)
- Framework for risk assessment for landfill sites: The geological barrier, mineral layer and the leachate sealing and drainage system
- Interim technical guidance note on capping for landfill sites
Hydrogeological risk assessment
- SEPA Technical guidance note: Hydrogeological risk assessment for landfills and the derivation of control and trigger levels
Waste acceptance and disposal
- The criteria and procedures for the acceptance of waste at landfills (Scotland) direction 2005
- The disposal in landfills for non-hazardous waste of stable, non-reactive hazardous wastes
- SEPA Technical guidance note: Disposal of gypsum in Landfills
- The disposal in landfills for non-hazardous waste of asbestos, wastes
- SEPA Technical guidance note: Closure procedures for landfill sites currently operating under waste management licences
- SEPA Technical guidance note: Closure, restoration and aftercare plan for submission to SEPA
- The criteria and procedures for the acceptance of waste at landfills (Scotland): amendment direction 2009
- The criteria and procedures for the acceptance of waste landfills (Scotland) amendment direction 2019
Closure and Restoration
- SEPA Guidance: Landfill Restoration General Guidance
- SEPA Guidance: Landfill Restoration Plan - Operator Notification Guidance
- Landfill Restoration Plan - Operator Notification Form
- SEPA Guidance: Guidance on Closed Landfills Regulated under Pollution Prevention and Control
If you require any further help or advice, please contact us.