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Job Title: Technical Manager, Contaminated Land


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30 April 2018

HMRC announced that as of 1 April 2018 landfill tax would be payable on wastes deposited at illegal waste sites.  This isn’t confined to fly tipping or illegal dumps, but will also affect development sites that don’t have the appropriate exemption, environmental permit or Material Management Plan (MMP) in place at the time of the waste transfer.

Previously the responsibility for obtaining permits would fall on the contractor, but under the new rules anyone who knowingly permits the waste activity will be liable for the tax charge.  This could include clients, consultants and project managers. HMRC will also be able to apply an additional fine up to 100% of the tax charge.  The charge will be at the full landfill tax rate, currently £88.95 per tonne.

So when do I need a permit?  An easier question to answer is when don’t I need a permit.  The Waste Framework directive defines waste as “any substance or object which the holder discards or intends or is required to discard”.

In practical terms any soil or similar material that is excavated, exported from or imported to a site may be classified as a waste.

The following scenarios don’t require a permit as the material is not a WFD waste:

  • Reuse of clean naturally occurring materials on the site of origin, provided that the soils are reused within 12 months
  • Import of quarried aggregates or soils.

For pretty much every other material movement activity associated with development some form of permit is required.


Starting with demolition a T5 exemption should be in place to cover the crushing and screening of demolition waste.  A U1 exemption should cover the reuse of up to 5000 tonnes of demolition waste.  For more than 5000 tonnes a Material Management Plan signed off by a Qualified Person should be in place.

Reuse of Materials on the site of origin

A U1 exemption should be in place for small volumes of materials up to 1000 tonnes.

A Material Management Plan signed off by a Qualified Person should be in place where materials are not clean naturally occurring soils.

Importation of materials from another site

Imported clean naturally occurring materials should be covered by a Material Management Plan signed off by a Qualified Person under a Direct Transfer scenario.

Imported recycled aggregates should have supporting WRAP certification otherwise an Environmental Permit will be required.

Hub and cluster – A central hub which undertakes remediation of contaminated soils with soils received from one or more donor sites.  Soils may be re-used at the hub site or sent to other receiving sites.  This may work well where a number of sites are in close proximity and the remediation can be concentrated at one location.  An Environmental Permit will be required to cover the treatment.  The driver for the hub and cluster scenario is to concentrate treatment facilities in one place, it is not intended to cover the direct transfer of made ground soils between sites.

A Waste Recovery Environmental Permit is appropriate where made ground is imported as a general fill material where a hub and cluster approach is not suitable and the materials are not clean naturally occurring.

Other scenarios may include:

  • Transfer of aggregates from another development – exemption (<5000t) or CL:AIRE CoP
  • Recycled aggregates – WRAP compliance, exemption (<5000t) or Environmental Permit

Material management must be planned in advance and the appropriate approvals put in place prior to the transfer.  In the case of a bespoke Environmental or Waste Recovery Permit this may take 13 weeks or more for the Environment Agency to approve.

We would recommend that the local Environment Agency Permitting Officer is contacted at the earliest opportunity to mitigate any programme constraints.

BWB can provide further insight on this and any of the above subjects and services e.g. Material Management Plans. This can be undertaken on a site-specific basis or as a CPD exercise.