Disposing of waste by landspreading
This guidance is for farmers that import wastes such as paper sludge and food wastes to spread on their land.
What you must do
If you landspread wastes such as paper sludge, compost, dredging spoil or ash, you may need to register an exemption from waste management licensing.
If you have registered an exemption you must ensure that you do not:
- endanger human health or cause pollution to water, air or soil
- pose a risk to plants or animals
- cause a nuisance, eg noise or odour
- adversely affect the countryside or places of special interest.
Permits, exemptions and requirements for landspreading
|Landspreading activity||Type of permit or exemption reference|
|Landspreading sewage sludge on agricultural land
Read our guidance on landspreading sewage sludge
|Comply with the Sludge Regulations||Comply with the Sludge Regulations|
|Securely storing sewage sludge to be spread on agricultural land||Paragraph 10 exemption||Paragraph 8 exemption|
|Landspreading sewage sludge on non-agricultural land||Paragraph 10A exemption||Paragraph 8 exemption|
|Spreading waste on agricultural land for benefit or ecological improvement||Paragraph 9 exemption||Paragraph 7 exemption|
|Spreading waste on non-agricultural land for benefit or ecological improvement||Paragraph 9 exemption||Paragraph 7 exemption|
|Spreading waste for reclamation or improvement of land||Paragraph 11 exemption||Paragraph 9 exemption|
Comply with the conditions of your exemptions
To qualify for exemptions from waste management licensing you must comply with other requirements. For example:
- you must only spread waste types that are listed in the regulations
- you must not exceed the quantities for the specific type of waste you are spreading
- you must store waste in a secure place before spreading
- you must not spread waste on land that is frozen, waterlogged or covered in snow
- your treatment of land may need to benefit wildlife or agriculture.
In Northern Ireland, for a full list of exempt wastes, see Schedule 2, paragraph 9, table 3 of the Waste Management Licensing (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2003.
In Scotland, for a full list of exempt wastes, see Appendix 4 of Section 5 of the Prevention of Environmental Pollution from Agricultural Activity (PEPFAA) Code.
Nitrate vulnerable zones
In Northern Ireland all farmers must comply with spreading rules under the Nutrient Action Programme.
In Scotland check if you are in a nitrate vulnerable zone (NVZ). If you are within an NVZ you will need to follow certain rules, such as limiting the amount of organic and inorganic nitrogen fertiliser you use and keeping records.
Watch our short videos:
- How to protect soil and water on a farm
- How to reduce costs on a farm
- How to prevent diffuse pollution on a farm
Codes of good agricultural practice
The codes of good agricultural practice provide more guidance on landspreading waste.
In Northern Ireland, see section 4 of the DARD code of good agricultural practice for water, air and soil.
In Scotland, see section 5 of the Prevention of Environmental Pollution from Agricultural Activity (PEPFAA) Code.
Environmental regulators' web pages on exemptions
- DAERA: Activities exempt from waste management licensing
- SEPA: Activities exempt from waste management licensing