The transfrontier shipment of waste

The below information sets out the processes for exporting and importing waste from Northern Ireland. It sets out the regulatory controls on shipments of waste and the notification controls that people and businesses need to adhere to.

Do you transport waste into or out of Northern Ireland from or to countries outside the UK?

If so, you need to be aware that shipments of waste are subject to a range of regulatory controls. Our guide An introduction to moving waste between countries provides an overview of the different types of controls that can apply.

The controls you need to comply with will depend on:

  • whether the waste is being sent for recovery or disposal - most shipments for disposal are prohibited, and if they are allowed they are subject to notification controls
  • if being moved for recovery, the type of waste - European legislation contains several annexes specifying different types of hazardous and non-hazardous waste
  • the 'status' of the countries of dispatch and destination. If you are moving waste within the EU, the procedures are different from those that apply if you are moving waste out of or into the EU or to and from OECD countries

Transboundary waste shipments

Transboundary waste shipments from the UK can be:

1. Prohibited

Movements are not allowed under any circumstances including almost all:

  • imports and exports for disposal
  • exports of hazardous waste to developing countries, even if moving for recovery

2. Notification controls

These apply to all permitted imports and exports of:

  • hazardous waste moving for recovery
  • any type of waste moving for disposal
  • and to some imports and exports of non-hazardous wastes for recovery

Where these controls apply you need our written permission before moving the waste. You must also comply with a range of other requirements.

3. Green list controls

These are the lowest level of control and only ever apply to some (but not all) imports or exports of non-hazardous waste for recovery. Where these controls apply you do not need our permission before moving the waste but you must comply with a range of other requirements.

How can I find out which controls apply to my shipment?

If you are intending to ship waste from the UK to another country, you should read the following guidance:

If you are bringing waste into the UK from abroad, you should read this guidance:

In all cases you will need to keep copies of the documents relating to the imported waste. 

If you are receiving waste within the UK, you must ensure the proper procedures have been followed.

You will need to know if the waste import is allowed and, if so, under what controls. You will also be required to complete specified documents on receipt and completion of the recovery or disposal of the waste.

In the case of waste subject to notification controls, you will also be required to send copies of those documents to the person who sent the waste and to the relevant regulatory authorities.

Notification controls

What are the procedures?

Notification controls apply to all allowed imports and exports of:

  • hazardous waste moving for recovery operations
  • all wastes moving for disposal
  • some shipments of non-hazardous wastes to non-OECD countries

Exports

If you are exporting these wastes from Northern Ireland you must:

  • apply to us for a unique numbered Notification form and Movement form. Once completed these forms should be submitted for assessment to us at the address below along with the correct fee. We will not proceed with the notification if the correct fee has not been provided.
  • put a financial guarantee in place to make sure enough money is available to deal with the waste if things go wrong, including the cost of returning the waste to the UK
  • draw up a contract for the recovery of the waste, including specific terms, with the business that will be receiving and recovering the waste
  • ensure you have insurance against liability for damage to third parties
  • obtain all necessary permissions from the regulators (known as ‘competent authorities’) in all countries concerned before moving the waste

Imports

Overseas businesses sending waste to the NI will need to apply to the relevant regulators in the country of dispatch and make sure the above measures are in place before the waste is imported.

The application process to obtain the necessary permissions will take at least a month to complete and in some cases much longer.

Fees and refunds policy

You can view the latest fees and refunds by using the below link:

How can I submit my application or get further advice on the international shipment of waste? 

To submit applications (for export only) and for more advice on the international shipment of waste, contact:

Green List controls

What do I need to do if I'm moving waste under 'green list' controls?

Some waste shipments are subject to lower level controls, known as 'green list'. If you are moving waste under these controls:

  • you can move the waste legally without getting permission from us.
  • you must complete and sign an Annex VII form and ensure it accompanies your waste
  • you must send the form to us prior to moving the waste. You can do this using the contact details given in the link below:
  • you must complete a contract for the recovery of the waste between the person sending the waste and the person receiving the waste
  • you must ensure the waste is dealt with in an environmentally sound manner throughout its movement and recovery
  • the person receiving the waste must sign the document that accompanies the waste on receipt and retain in for 3 years

Our guide Exporting recyclable waste for recovery in non-OECD countries provides guidance on the procedures you must follow when exporting waste under green list controls to non-OECD countries. The guide also contains useful information on the green list procedures for those importing or exporting waste under green list controls from other countries.

RDF export records

The following publications consolidate records held by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency for the export of Refuse Derived Fuel from Northern Ireland. Records will be updated as information  becomes available.

Export Records for RDF Shipped from Northern Ireland

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