Defra consults on waste crime and waste exemptions

08 February 2023

An image of fly-tipped waste on farming land

In 2018, Defra launched a consultation on proposals to tackle crime and poor performance in the waste sector & introduce a new fixed penalty for the waste duty of care. We responded to the consultation on behalf of members.

8 February 2023

Defra consultation response outlines changes to waste exemptions

Defra has released its response to the consultation on reforming the waste exemption scheme within the waste permitting system. Visit: Consultation outcome– supplementary government response | GOV.UK

There are some significant changes to some waste exemptions, and some waste exemptions have been removed.

The response also mentions the introduction of charges for waste exemptions, however these will be subject to further consultation by the Environment Agency in due course.

The waste exemptions impacted are:

Exemptions to be removed

  • T8 - Mechanical treatment of end-of-life tyres
  • T9 - Recovery of scrap metal
  • U16 - Use of depolluted end-of-life vehicles for parts

Exemptions to be changed

  • U1 - Use of waste in construction
  • T4 - Preparatory treatments
  • T6 - Treatment of waste wood and waste plant matter
  • T12 - Manual treatment of waste
  • D7 - Burning waste in the open
  • S1 - Storage of waste
  • S2 - Storage of waste in a secure place

Expected timelines

Any exemption holders will be contacted by the Environment Agency directly and informed of any changes to their waste exemption.

The NFU has been informed that no changes will come into force until the Environmental Permitting Regulations are amended, which is expected to be some time from 2024 onwards.

Some of the changes will include transitional periods for exemption holders to adjust.

Other changes include:

  • new rules which will be relevant to all exempt holders, for example on record keeping and for sites with multiple registered exemptions
  • new rules on registering exemptions at or adjacent to permitted sites
  • changes to waste codes within other exemptions and removal of codes ending in ‘99’

Further information

For more information, visit:

If you would like to ask any general questions about the reforms you can contact the Environment Agency at: [email protected]  by putting ‘exemption reforms’ as the subject.

Any complaints about the reforms should be directed to Defra at [email protected] or by calling 03459 33 55 77.

23 March 2018

Consultation closes

This consultation closed on 26 March 2018. We will keep members informed on any movement on this consultation.

17 March 2018

NFU submits response to government consultation on waste crime

In our response, we outlined our strong opposition to push waste exemptions towards a licensing scheme that may closer resemble standard rules or bespoke environmental permits.

We expressed our concern about the disproportionate amount of regulatory resource which would be wasted bringing the previously compliant 81,000 agricultural businesses with waste exemptions into compliance with new permits, and highlighted how inappropriate waste operations can be tackled through a host of other legislative mechanisms.

The NFU also addressed issues outside the scope of the consultation, calling for more to be done to address criminal waste operators, and not just certain actors or groups within the supply chain.

Defra’s consultation proposals may help with some enforcement activities, but the overall defence of the agricultural industry requires the EA (Environment Agency) to have sufficient drive and resources to pursue criminals, which we have not yet seen.

NFU members can download our full response: Waste crime consultation – NFU response

15 January 2018

New consultation on waste crime launched by Defra

The government is seeking views on improving operator competence at permitted waste sites and introducing financial provision, reforming the waste exemptions regime, and introducing a fixed penalty notice for breaches of the household waste duty of care.

It is seeking views on these proposals:

  • Enforcing more appropriate competence standards for waste site operators.
  • Changes to waste exemptions to prevent them being used to hide illegal activity.
  • Adopt fixed penalties for householders failing to pass their waste to authorised waste carriers
  • Measures to protect landowners from the impact of waste crime

The consultation is divided into three sections:

  • Part A focuses on raising the standard of operator competence across all permitted waste sites by strengthening the regulators’ assessment and enforcement abilities;
  • Part B is about reforming the waste exemptions regime within the waste permitting system;
  • Part C covers the introduction of a new Fixed Penalty Notice for household Duty of Care offences for fly-tipping.

Our interest in this consultation is focused on the significant impact that waste crime has on our members, with many being victims of waste crime.

Farmers and land managers also make use of waste exemptions and environmental permits, in some case being the majority users of waste exemptions.

How to get involved

The NFU is in the process of analysing the impact of the proposed changes and will be consulting with members further in due course.

We've broken down the consultation and put some key questions for members to think about in a member briefing: 

Download: Waste crime consultation – a summary of key proposals

If you wish to comment directly to this consultation you can do so by visiting: Crime and poor performance in the waste sector | GOV.UK. The consultation closes on 26 March 2018.

Or you can provide feedback to the NFU's environmental policy adviser Theo Plowman by 21 March 2018.

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  • Defra sought views on improving operator competence, waste exemptions, fixed penalties and landowner protection measures.
  • Waste crime has a significant impact on agriculture, with many farmers being victim of instances of crime.
  • Our response opposes a licensing scheme that may better resemble environmental permits.
  • 81,000 agricultural businesses comply with current waste exemptions.
  • New permits would require a disproportionate amount of resource.