Appropriate Measures for Permitted Facilities that take Non-Hazardous and Inert Waste

Closed 18 Nov 2020

Opened 14 Sep 2020

Results updated 22 Apr 2021

The purpose of this consultation was to engage stakeholders to obtain their views on technical guidance that sets out the appropriate measures for permitted facilities that transfer and/or treat non-hazardous and inert waste.

We ran a consultation online from 14 September to 18 November 2020. We invited respondents to comment using our Citizen Space online consultation tool. We also received responses via email using the consultation response forms and via letter. We asked 31 questions in the consultation.

We had 61 responses to the consultation as follows:

  • 28 from site operators
  • 8 trade associations
  • 10 consultants
  • 9 local authorities
  • 3 other organisations/groups
  • 2 anonymous
  • 1 member of the public


A summary of the main findings and the actions we are taking in response is provided below:

  • Many respondents told us the guidance adopted 'a one size fits all' approach and in reality there are differing levels of risk within the sector. We agree and acknowledge the need for a flexible approach in paragraph 9 of the guidance. Paragraph 11 of the guidance also explains that operators can propose alternative measures that achieve the same level of environmental protection, or explain why a measure is not relevant.


  • Many respondents told us they had serious concerns with the enclosed buildings section of the guidance, particularly paragraph 177 which stated: For waste treatment activities we consider this to be the default control measure, given that an appropriately designed building will reduce a range of types of pollutants. We will revisit this part of the guidance to provide further clarity on when enclosed buildings are required.


  • Some respondents questioned the lawfulness of the guidance, as they considered the guidance seeks to impose Best Available Techniques (BAT) obligations to all sites within the sector, when BAT is only applicable to waste installations. We have provided further clarity within our consultation response document.


  • Some respondents told us they were concerned with the proposed implementation timescales. Through permit reviews, we will assess the current operating techniques of facilities against the relevant appropriate measures. We would incorporate timescales for making improvements into the permit. We would do this using a permit variation and improvement conditions, where we consider it appropriate.


  • Some respondents told us the guidance was disproportionate for exemptions. For a waste activity carried out under an exemption, the operator must comply with the objectives which underpin the use of exemptions, set out in Article 13 of the Waste Framework Directive.  The operator must not:
    • cause a risk to water, air, soil, plants or animals
    • cause a nuisance through noise or odours
    • adversely affect the countryside or places of special interest.


  • We consider the use of appropriate measures (such as management systems) which are proportionate to the risk posed, are essential and of benefit to both business and the environment. Within the guidance we will clarify that exempt operators may find it useful to refer to the guidance as it will help them make sure they comply with the exemption conditions and the Waste Framework Directive objectives.


  • We will implement the guidance to new permitted facilities through the environmental permit application process and to existing facilities through staged permit reviews, starting with waste installations in 2021.


  • We are reviewing the existing standard rules that apply to operations involving non-hazardous and inert waste. This review will ensure those standard rules provide an appropriate level of environmental protection and include appropriate measures and standards. Revised standard rules will be consulted on in the first half of 2021.


  • We will produce a Business Impact Target Assessment (BIT) as a result of the guidance.


For further detail please refer to our consultation response document here. We will revise the guidance document for publication on GOV.UK. Thank you for your time in responding to our consultation.    


The Environment Agency is launching a formal public consultation into new guidance for permitted facilities taking non-hazardous and inert waste for treatment or transfer.

We will review and revise the guidance using your responses and will publish it on the website.The responses to the consultation will be reviewed and revised guidance will be published on, alongside similar guidance documents for other waste sectors, for example healthcare waste, biowaste, hazardous chemicals.

The guidance has been produced to improve the way that permitted facilities in the non-hazardous and inert waste sector are operated and designed. The aim is to ensure that standards are clear, consistent and enforceable.

The guidance will apply to existing and new facilities including household waste recycling centres, waste transfer stations, materials recycling facilities and sites producing soil and aggregates.

Unless specifically stated, the appropriate measures in the guidance will apply to all permitted waste management facilities in the sector, whether operating under an installation or waste operation permit.

The guidance will apply to newly permitted waste facilities through the environmental permit application process. It will also apply to existing facilities, which will be given time to implement the new standards.

Why your views matter

The purpose of this consultation is to engage with relevant stakeholders to obtain their views on the proposed guidance. We will review the feedback from respondents and alter the guidance if appropriate.


Guidance Document

The current guidance document can be found below.

Please note, if you are having trouble viewing the guidance document below, you can also access it by clicking on to the following link:


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What happens next

This consultation is now closed. We are reviewing your responses. Thank you for your interest, please use the contact details on this page if you would like to get in touch with us.


  • Members of the public with an interest in the river, the species and conservation


  • Business and industry
  • Habitats and wildlife
  • Waste
  • Environmental permitting