Activities exempt from Waste Management Licensing

Some activities involving waste materials are exempt from licensing if they meet the requirements detailed in Regulation 17 of the Waste Management Licensing (Scotland) Regulations 2011 (the “Regulations”). Although an activity may be exempt from waste management licensing, it is still subject to statutory controls to prevent environmental pollution and harm to human health.

The controls under Regulation 19 relate to registration of exempt activities. The controls under Regulation 17 relate to certain conditions being met in order for the activity to be exempt, which includes the requirement that the activity must not endanger human health or harm the environment by:

  1. presenting a risk to water, air, soil, plants or animals;
  2. causing nuisance through noise or odours; or
  3. adversely affecting the countryside or places of special interest.

It is an offence to carry out an exempt activity without it being registered or to carry out an activity in breach of registration obligations.


Only “Establishments or Undertakings” (i.e. sole trader, company, partnership, authority, society, trust, club, charity or other organisation) are required to register.  Private individuals and householders do not have to register.

Paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8(1), 11, 13, 14¸ 15¸ 16¸ 17,  18,  20,  21,  22,  24,  25,  26,  27*, 28,  29,  30,  31,  32,  33,  34,  35,  36*, 37*, 38,  39,  40*, 41*, 43,  44 and  48 are termed “Simple Exemptions” by SEPA.  These activities must be registered with SEPA before they commence however there is no fee for registration.  The registration lasts as long as you are carrying out the activity.  These exemptions can now be registered online (see registration forms below).* where waste is stored at the place of production, does not involve recovery or disposal of waste, or where the activity is being carried out by an individual rather than an establishment or undertaking, it does not have to be registered.

Activities carried out under Paragraphs 7, 8(2), 9, 10, 12, 19, 42, 45, 46, 47, 49, 50 and 51 are termed “Complex Exemptions” by SEPA.  These activities must also be registered with SEPA before they commence. A registration fee must be paid.  These registrations last for 12 months and can be renewed by submitting a renewal form and renewal fee to SEPA.

Paragraphs 7, 8(2), 9, 10, 12, 19, 42, 47, 49, 50 and 51 must be registered at least 21 days before the activity is to be carried out using a standard SEPA registration form. Copies of the form can be obtained from your local SEPA office or downloaded from this web site using the links below. SEPA Guidance Notes are also available to assist with completion of the form.

When SEPA receives a registration form, it will determine whether or not the activity should be registered. Within 21 days you will receive either confirmation of the registration or notice that the registration has been refused. It should be noted that SEPA can now remove the activity from the Register where it breaches the legal requirements; in such circumstances it would be an offence to continue to carry on the activity.

Where an exempt activity relates to the storage, treatment or recovery of waste then operating out with the parameters specified for that activity may indicate that a waste disposal activity is taking place. In these circumstances, the activity would no longer be exempt and you may have to cease the activity or remove some or all of the waste or apply for an appropriate authorisation. From 1 April 2015 onwards , if you deposit waste or place it for storage on or under land (or on a structure set into the surface of the land), you may also be liable to pay Scottish Landfill Tax if the activity purportedly being carried out under an exemption actually constitutes a disposal of the waste by way of landfill.

Note - From 1 April 2015, many landfill activities in Scotland will be liable for Scottish Landfill Tax (SLfT). For further information on SLfT, please visit the Revenue Scotland website ( or contact SEPA.

Notification/Registration forms

Form Description File
WMX-FM7 Form to register or renew a paragraph 7 exemption word link image 363k
WMX-FM8(2) Form to register or renew a paragraph 8(2) exemption word link image 191k
WMX-FM9 Form to register or renew a paragraph 9 exemption word link image 314k
WMX-FM10 Form to register or renew a paragraph 10 exemption word link image 190k
WMX-FM12 Form to register or renew a paragraph 12 exemption word link image 307k
WMX-FM12small Form to register or renew a paragraph 12 exemption
(for small scale composting at business or education facilities)
word link image 142k
WMX-FM19 Form to register or renew a paragraph 19 exemption word link image 241k
WMX-FM42 Form to register or renew a paragraph 42 exemption word link image 177k
WMX-FM45 Form to register or renew a paragraph 45 exemption

Note: For Paragraph 45 renewals, please also fill out:
word link image 137k
  Annual Return Form for Exempt Activities (Word version) OR word link image 193k
  Annual Return Form for Exempt Activities (PDF version) pdf link 173k
WMX-FM46 Form to register or renew a paragraph 46 exemption word link image 166k
WMX-FM47 Form to register or renew a paragraph 47 exemption word link image 182k
WMX-FM49 Form to register or renew a paragraph 49 exemption word link image 157k
WMX-FM50 Form to register or renew a paragraph 50 exemption word link image 284k
WMX-FM51 Form to register or renew a paragraph 51 exemption word link image 207k


Document Description File
WMX-TG7 Technical Guidance Note for Paragraph 7 exemptions pdf link 135k
WMX-TG8 Technical Guidance Note for Paragraph 8 exemptions pdf link 93k
WMX-TG9 Technical Guidance Note for Paragraph 9 exemptions pdf link 111k
WMX-TG12 Technical Guidance Note for Paragraph 12 exemptions pdf link 90k
WMX-TG19 Technical Guidance Note for Paragraph 19 exemptions pdf link 99k
WMX-TG43+48 Technical Guidance Note for Paragraph 43 and 48 exemptions pdf link 21k
WMX-TG47 Technical Guidance Note for Paragraph 47 exemptions pdf link 98k
WMX-TG49 Technical Guidance Note for Paragraph 49 exemptions pdf link 71k
WMX-TG51 Technical Guidance Note for Paragraph 51 exemptions pdf link 112k

Technical Guidance for Paragraphs 45 and 46 is provided at the end of the registration forms. There is currently no guidance for Paragraphs 10 or 42 exemptions as these are thought to be self explanatory.

Individual Paragraph Details:

The details of each paragraph can be found by clicking on the links below: You may also find the following tool useful:

  • Exemption Guide by Waste Type excel link (283k)

  • Paragraph 1 - The use of waste glass in glass manufacture and production

  • Paragraph 2 - Operation of a scrap metal furnace

  • Paragraph 3 - Burning of waste as a fuel

  • Paragraph 4 - Cleaning, washing, spraying or coating of waste packaging and containers

  • Paragraph 5 - Burning waste as a fuel in an appliance & recovery of fuel from waste vegetable oils

  • Paragraph 6 - Burning waste oil as a fuel in specified engines

  • Paragraph 7 - The treatment of land for agricultural benefit or ecological improvement

  • Paragraph 8 - The storage and spreading of sludge

  • Paragraph 9 - The reclamation or improvement of land

  • Paragraph 10 - Reception and treatment of specified waste at a Water Treatment Works

  • Paragraph 11 - Baling, sorting, shredding etc. of specified wastes

  • Paragraph 12 - Composting

  • Paragraph 13 - Manufacture of specified goods from specified wastes

  • Paragraph 14 - The manufacture of finished goods & repair/refurbishment of waste goods

  • Paragraph 15 - Beneficial use of waste without further treatment

  • Paragraph 16 - The screening of specified wastes

  • Paragraph 17 - Storage of specified wastes in a secure place

  • Paragraph 18 - Secure storage of specified wastes on any premises

  • Paragraph 19 - Waste for construction and other "relevant work"

  • Paragraph 20 - Cleaning waste textiles for recovery

  • Paragraph 21 - Chipping etc waste plant matter

  • Paragraph 22 - Recovery of silver

  • Paragraph 23 - The recovery of animal by product wastes

  • Paragraph 24 - Size reduction of bricks, tiles or concrete

  • Paragraph 25 - The deposit of dredging wastes

  • Paragraph 26 - The recovery/disposal of waste at the place of production as part of the production process

  • Paragraph 27 - Baling, compacting, crushing or shredding waste at the place it was produced

  • Paragraph 28 - The use of autoclaves to sterilise waste

  • Paragraph 29 - The disposal of waste at the place of production by burning in an incinerator

  • Paragraph 30 - Burning plant tissue waste on land in the open

  • Paragraph 31 - Discharge of sanitary waste from a passenger train

  • Paragraph 32 - Burial of sanitary waste from a removable receptacle

  • Paragraph 33 - Keeping or deposit of peat excavation waste

  • Paragraph 34 - Keeping or deposit of spent railway ballast

  • Paragraph 35 - The deposit of excavated material from a borehole or other excavation

  • Paragraph 36 - Temporary storage of specified waste at a harbour

  • Paragraph 37 - Burial of a dead domestic pet

  • Paragraph 38 - The deposit or storage of samples of waste for testing or analysis

  • Paragraph 39 - Secure Storage of medical, nursing or veterinary wastes

  • Paragraph 40 - Secure storage of non-liquid waste other than at the place of production

  • Paragraph 41 - Temporary storage of waste at the place of production

  • Paragraph 42 - The disposal of waste pesticide solutions or washings in a lined biobed

  • Paragraph 43 - Crushing of waste gas discharge lamps

  • Paragraph 44 - Heating metal in an authorised furnace

  • Paragraph 45 - The recovery of scrap metal or the dismantling of motor vehicles

  • Paragraph 46 - The burning of plant tissue or wood at a dock

  • Paragraph 47 - Repair and/or refurbishment of WEEE

  • Paragraph 48 - The storage of WEEE pending recovery elsewhere

  • Paragragh 49 - The treatment of waste organophosphate sheep dip

  • Paragraph 50 - The mixing of pig or poultry ash for treatment of land

  • Paragraph 51 - The anaerobic digestion of agricultural or distillery waste

For full details of regulatory requirements, reference should be made to the relevant Regulations, available from The Stationary Office. The following links provide access to the relevant Regulations:

A general information leaflet has been published by SEPA, which can be downloaded here pdf link (610k) or sent to you by our Publications Department at Corporate Office.