Waste carriers and brokers

If you transport controlled waste within the UK in the course of your business, you must register as a waste carrier.

The transport of waste is highly regulated to ensure that waste is properly and legally disposed of.

If you do not comply, you could face a fine of up to £5,000.

We enforce the regulations governing the transport of waste by processing applications, issuing registrations and ensuring that operators have all the information they require to stay compliant.

Why is the transport of waste regulated?

In addition to ensuring that hazardous or toxic waste is properly recycled, recovered or disposed of, one of the main aims of the regulations is to prevent flytipping, which can be hazardous to health, causes environmental damage, looks unsightly and costs considerable sums of taxpayers’ money to clean up.

Furthermore, it undermines the efforts of compliant waste transporters, damaging legitimate business.

Our online database allows anybody to examine a waste carrier or broker’s details and ensure that they are correctly registered. These details can also be obtained from any SEPA office.

How is the transport of waste regulated?

The requirement to register as a carrier or broker of controlled waste is contained within the Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act 1989 and the Controlled Waste (Registration of Carriers and Seizure of Vehicles) Regulations 1991.

The regulations require that any person who transports or makes arrangements for management of waste in the course of any business must register with the enforcing authority.

Professional collectors and transporters of waste are regulated by the Waste Management Licensing (Scotland) Regulations 2011, which requires operators to notify us of the business they carry out and the location(s) from which they operate. 

We act as the enforcing authority in Scotland; the Environment Agency is responsible for enforcing the regulations in England; Natural Resources Wales; and Northern Ireland is covered by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.

However, you only need to register once and then you will be covered for the whole of the UK.

Do the regulations apply to me?

Waste carriers transport commercial, industrial and household waste, known as controlled waste, as part of their business. Waste brokers arrange for other businesses' controlled waste to be handled, transported, disposed of or recovered. Waste dealers use an agent to buy waste from other businesses to sell on.

Controlled waste is any kind of household, commercial industrial or agricultural waste, including any waste from a house, shop, office, factory or any other trade or business premises.

Such waste is controlled waste whether it is liquid or solid and even if it is not hazardous or toxic and includes:

  • unwanted surplus substances;
  • building or demolition waste;
  • anything that is disposed of as broken, worn out, contaminated or spoiled in some other way.

You must register if you operate a business that is subject to regulation, even if you only deal with controlled waste once in a while. The requirement to register applies to sole traders as well as partnerships and companies.

Waste carriers and brokers

Types of business which may require registration include:

  • Building/construction
  • Painter/decorator
  • Electrician
  • Plumber
  • Glazier
  • Roofing contractor
  • Carpenter/joiner
  • Waste paper recycling
  • Metal recycling
  • Glass recycling
  • Vehicle dismantler
  • Plastics recycling
  • Bulk transporter/haulier
  • Tanker transport
  • Gardener/landscaper
  • Demolition contractor
  • Waste management contractor
  • Skip hire
  • Special waste transport

If the waste you produce through your business is building or demolition waste, you must be registered in order to transport it yourself. Visit our construction and demolition waste page for further information.

If you are a charity or voluntary organisation and you transport waste, or you only carry waste that you have produced as a result of your business (excluding construction and demolition waste), you must ensure you are entered on our register of professional collectors and transporters of waste.  See our section on Professional collectors and transporters of waste for further information. There is no charge for this type of registration.

You do not need to be a registered carrier if you are a householder carrying your own domestic waste to a civic amenity site or similar. However, if someone transports this waste for you, then they must be registered.

Professional collectors and transporters of waste

Professional collectors and transporters of waste are regulated by the Waste Management Licensing (Scotland) Regulations 2011, which requires operators to notify us of the business they carry out and the location(s) from which they operate. 

Examples of operations registered through this scheme include:

  • government departments and local councils
  • charitable and voluntary organisations
  • businesses who normally and regularly transport their own waste (excluding construction and demolition)
  • carriers of animal by-products
  • carriers of mines and quarry wastes
  • carriers of agricultural waste

There is no charge for this registration. Register as a professional collector and transporter of waste online.

To check if a current registration as a Professional collection and transporter of waste is held, please contact us.

The duty of care legislation

The Duty of Care legislation requires that all transfers of waste are appropriately recorded in order to assist in tracking movements of waste.

In addition, the regulations place additional obligations on waste producers, carriers and any person within the chain of persons handling waste to consider the manner in which they deal with the material.

General guidance on the duty of care and responsibilities for persons who produce, carry, handle or otherwise deal with waste has been produced by the Scottish Government.

What do I do next?

If you are in any doubt as to whether registration is required under either of the above schemes, please contact us to discuss your situation in more detail.

Applications to register as carriers, brokers or carrier/brokers are subject to the following fees:

Registration requiredFee

Carrier

£187

Broker

£187

Combined carrier/broker

£187

Carrier’s renewal

£129

Broker’s renewal application

£129

Combined carrier/broker’s renewal application

£129

Broker’s application by a person already registered as a carrier of controlled waste

£50

Professional carrier and transporter of waste

Free

If you wish to register as a carrier, broker or carrier/broker of controlled waste, please return the completed application form with the appropriate fee to the office most closely located to your location, as stated on the form.

If you wish to renew your registration as a carrier, broker or carrier/broker of controlled waste, please return the completed application form with the appropriate fee to the office most closely located to your location, as stated on the form.

Once registered, a certificate of registration will be issued to you as proof of registration. This is also available in a credit card sized copy at a small additional charge of £5.

Registration is valid throughout the UK for a period of three years from the date of issue. On renewal, a reduced fee is payable.

If you wish to register as a professional collector or transporter of controlled waste, please complete the online application formor a paper copy and return it to the office most closely located to your location, as stated on the form. Once registered, your registration is ongoing and doesn’t have to be renewed.

Contact us

For more help or information on any aspect of carrying or brokering waste, please contact us.