Which waste materials will now be excluded from the regulations?
There are two broad categories of exclusions from the revised Waste Framework Directive (rWFD).
The first category consists of wastes that are excluded absolutely.
- Para 2(1)(a) Gaseous effluents emitted into the atmosphere.
- Para 2(1)(b) Land (in situ) including unexcavated, contaminated soil and buildings permanently connected with land.
- Para 2(1)(c) Uncontaminated soil and other naturally occurring material excavated in the course of construction activities, where is it certain that the material will be used for the purposes of construction in its natural state on the site from which it was excavated.
- Para 2(1)(d) Radioactive waste. Please see our section on radioactive waste for more details.
- Para 2(1)(e) Decommissioned explosives.
- Para 2(1)(f) Faecal matter (unless covered by paragraph 2(2) (b)) straw and other natural non-hazardous agricultural or forestry material used in farming, forestry or for the production of energy from such biomass through processes which do not harm the environment or endanger human health. The brackets in this exclusion are interpreted to mean that faecal matter as an animal by-product is not excluded from the rWFD if it is destined for incineration, landfilling or use in a biogas or composting plant.
- Para 2(3) Sediments relocated inside surface waters for the purpose of managing waters and waterways or of preventing floods or mitigating the effects of floods and droughts or land reclamation if it is proved that the sediments are non-hazardous.
The second category consists of wastes that are excluded to the extent that other Community legislation covers their handling, treatment or disposal.
The other community legislation must contain precise provisions about the management of waste and ensure a level of protection which is at least equivalent to that resulting from the rWFD. These wastes are:
- Para 2(2)(a) Waste waters. The legislation covering waste waters is the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive and the Dangerous Substances Directive (for disposals into the sea).
- Para 2(2)(b) Animal by-products including processed products covered by Regulation (EC) No 1069/2009 (replacing 1774/2002), except those which are destined for incineration, landfilling or use in a biogas or composting plant.
- Para 2(2)c) Carcasses of animals that have died other than by being slaughtered, including animals killed to eradicate epizootic diseases, and that are disposed of in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1069/2009. The broad meaning of this exclusion is that entire bodies or parts of animals will be excluded from the scope of the rWFD if they are disposed of in accordance with that Regulation.
- Para 2(2)(d) Waste resulting from prospecting, extraction, treatment and storage of mineral resources and the working of quarries covered by Directive 2006/21/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 on the management of waste from extractive industries (the Mining Waste Directive).
Examples of materials which we consider to be excluded are:
Straw and farming or forestry materials
Burning of straw and other crop residues
Waste material derived from the dry stalk of a cereal plant after the grain has been removed is sometimes burned as fuel in combustion plants. Straw or crop residue is no different in substance from a crop grown specifically for use as a fuel. It is natural, non-hazardous, agricultural material used for the production of energy and will fall out of the scope of the rWFD if burned through processes or methods which do not harm the environment or endanger human health.
If straw or crop residue is burned in an appliance with a thermal input of less than 20 megawatts, we consider that the negative impacts on human health and the environment should not be greater than burning an equivalent non-waste solid fuel. It will therefore fall outside the rWFD and will not require a permit from the Environment Agency. Appliances with higher thermal inputs will continue to require a permit for combustion, under Schedule 1 Chapter 1 of the Environmental Permitting Regulations.
Details on the new Animal By-Product Regulations can be found on the Defra and Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) websites:
or telephone the Defra Helpline: 08459 335577
The Office of the Chief Veterinary Officer has a similar role within Wales:
1. Pet crematoria
The revised Animal By-Prodcut Regulation (ABPR) provide rules for the disposal of carcasses by incineration and for the approval of plants by AHVLA.
The incineration of dead pets (including pre-incineration storage) in crematoria with a capacity of less than 50kg per hour, previously required a permit from the Environment Agency as a waste operation. This activity, because it is approved by AHVLA under the ABPR, will now fall out of scope of the rWFD and will no longer require a permit from us. However, any plant incinerating additional wastes, such as veterinary waste, is likely to require both an Environment Agency permit and approval by AHVLA.
The ash resulting from the incineration will continue to be regulated as waste and must be recovered or disposed of in accordance with waste legislation. This ash must not be spread on grazing land.
2. Pet cemeteries
Our permits will cease to have effect when the operation is authorised by AHVLA in accordance with the new ABPR. We will notify individual permit holders when this happens.
How do I get in touch with AHVLA?
Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) is part of Defra:
Specific information on animal by-products can also be found on the Defra and AHVLA websites as above.
Where can I get more information?
We are currently updating our regulatory position statement on the regulation of rWFD excluded wastes and will be available from:
I deal with animal by-product wastes. What do the waste exclusions mean to me?
The duty of care does not apply to animal by-products that are collected and transported in accordance with the ABPR. Carriers will therefore need to comply with ABPR which involves completing Commercial Documents for movement and registering as an ABP transporter. Further details on the ABPR requirements can be found on the AHVLA website.
If you are transporting:
Dead pets or carcasses of other animals that have died in ways other than being slaughtered (for example fallen stock), do not need to register as a waste carrier and the duty of care does not apply if the carcass is being taken to a place where they will be disposed of in accordance with the Animal By-Products (Enforcement) (England) Regulations 2011. (Similar legislation applies in rest of UK).
Any other animal by-product covered by the Animal By-Products Regulation that is not destined for incineration, landfill, use in biogas or a composting plant, or any other activity still within the scope of the rWFD do not need to register as a waste carrier at all. The duty of care does not apply, but AHVLA requirements may apply.
Any other animal by-product, or carcasses of wild animals, that are destined for incineration, landfill, use in biogas or a composting plant, or any other activity still within the scope of the rWFD needs to register as a waste carrier in the lower tier and as an ABP transporter. Duty of care does not apply although carriers will need to comply with ABPR which includes completing commercial documents for the movement of ABPR. Further details on the ABPR requirements can be found on the AHVLA website.
Note that although the landspreading of ABP for use as a fertiliser is not mentioned as an exclusion here, it is still classed as a waste activity.