COVID-19 – Waste Regulation questions and answers

Questions and answers in relation to waste regulation - 28/04/2020

What happens to my waste licence/permit during the Covid-19 crisis?

During the Covid-19 crisis, your waste authorisation is still in operation. NIEA recognises that you may have difficulty complying with your waste licence /permit. Temporary Covid-19 Regulatory Position Statements have been published to support waste regulated operators, and these can be accessed here:

If you would like to speak to someone, please contact the NIEA Waste Management Licensing Team and the Waste Permitting Team on Tel: 02890 569758

I am running out of space at my licensed/permitted waste site, what can I do?

During the Covid-19 crisis, NIEA recognises that normal waste supply chains and the onward movement of waste may be disrupted. Temporary Covid-19 Regulatory Position Statements have been published on waste regulation, and these can be accessed here:

If you would like to speak to someone, please contact the NIEA Waste Management Licensing Team and the Waste Permitting Team on Tel: 02890 569758.

How can I continue to satisfy the requirements for Technically Competent Management requirements under my licence/permit whilst also complying with social distancing requirements? What do I do if the competent person is ill or self-isolating?

We understand that many operators will be concerned about how they can satisfy attendance requirements, whilst sites are running on reduced staffing levels and staff may well be ill or self-isolating.  NIEA will be pragmatic in our approach.

A Temporary Covid-19 Regulatory Position Statement has been published to provide you with guidance, and this can be accessed here:

If you would like to speak to someone, please contact the NIEA Waste Management Licensing Team and the Waste Permitting Team on Tel: 02890 569758.

I may lose a significant portion of my work force at short notice.  As a result, I may not be able to process wastes and my site will become overloaded.  What can I do?

If you are concerned that you will not be able to comply with your authorisation, specific advice can be obtained by contacting your local waste inspector, or by contacting NIEA on Tel. No. 02890 569353.

I may find it difficult to comply with the current legislation, or my licence/permit conditions.  What do I do?

DAERA recognises that waste businesses may face challenges to their operational activity during this period.  However, it must be emphasised that any actions you take to address these challenges must take into account the relevant legislative requirements and licence/permit conditions.  Temporary Covid-19 Regulatory Position Statements have been published on waste regulation, and these can be accessed here:

If you would like to speak to someone, please contact the NIEA Waste Management Licensing Team and the Waste Permitting Team on Tel: 02890 569758.

Is there a potential Covid-19 risk to people living in close proximity to a landfill site?

The Public Health Agency have provided the following advice in relation to the potential risks of people living in proximity to landfill sites becoming infected with COVID 19 from the landfill site. 

“From everything we know about the virus there is minimal to no likelihood that this could happen.”

How can I comply with the Transfrontier Shipment of Wastes Regulations during this period of social distancing?

During the Covid-19 crisis, NIEA recognises that you will have difficulty with paper records normally required for the TFS Regulations. A Temporary Covid-19 Regulatory Position Statement has been published to provide you with guidance, and this can be accessed here:

If you would like to speak to someone, please contact the NIEA Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Team at tfs@daera-ni.gov.uk.

How can I comply with the Hazardous Waste Regulations during this period of social distancing?

During the Covid-19 crisis, NIEA recognises that you will have difficulty with paper records normally required for compliance with The Hazardous Waste Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2005. A Temporary Covid-19 Regulatory Position Statement has been published to provide you with guidance, and this can be accessed here:

If you would like to speak to someone, please contact the NIEA Hazardous Waste Team at hazwaste@daera-ni.gov.uk or telephone us at 028 9056 9710.

I am a direct registrant producer, and I’m having difficulty complying with my obligations to submit packaging waste data by the required date. What can I do?

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) recognises that the difficulties currently being faced by producers as a result of the covid-19 crisis are impacting on their ability to comply with their obligations under The Producer Responsibility (Packaging Waste) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007 and amendments 

NIEA is keen to work alongside producers to allow them to achieve regulatory compliance as far as it is reasonably possible to do so, and have published a temporary Covid-19 Regulatory Position Statement, which can be accessed here:

If you need to contact us, please contact the Producer Responsibility team by email at packaging@daera-ni.gov.uk or by phone on 028 9056 9338.

What do I do if I suspect waste crime? 

DAERA is committed to the environment and to tackling waste crime.  NIEA, an Executive Agency of DAERA, will continue to detect, prevent, disrupt and enforce against environmental threat, risk and harm.  Anyone who suspects criminality in the waste industry, should contact the Northern Ireland Environment Agency on 0800 807080, by email at environmentalcrime@daera-ni.gov.uk, or via NIDirect at:

What do I do if I notice someone flytipping, or flytipped waste?

If you see fly-tipped waste, don't:

  • touch the waste because there might be contaminated waste, syringes, broken glass, asbestos, toxic chemicals or other hazardous substances
  • disturb the site in case there's evidence that could identify the fly-tippers and lead to their prosecution

You should:

  • try to work out what the waste is and how much there is
  • note the day, date and time you saw the tipping
  • note the waste's exact location and whether it is in or near water
  • take a photograph and give this to the local council

You can find contact details for your local Council here:

If you're nearby when someone is fly-tipping, you should note:

  • how many people are involved and what they look like
  • what they tipped - how much and what it looks like
  • information about the vehicles they use including make, colour and registration number

Anyone who suspects a waste crime is being committed, should contact the Northern Ireland Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 80, by email at environmentalcrime@daera-ni.gov.uk, or via NIDirect at:

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