What you must do

Authorisations to operate

If you use small waste oil burners (SWOBs) you require a PPC Part A permit. You must contact your environmental regulator before you burn any oil.

As a general guide, in Northern Ireland if you produce more than 5000 litres of biodiesel from waste catering oils, your business is likely to require a PPC permit.

In Scotland, if you carry out transesterification of waste catering oils up to 200 tonnes per year, non-commercially and not on an industrial scale, you do not require a PPC Part A permit. Contact SEPA to check whether you qualify for this exemption.

Contact your environmental regulator

In Northern Ireland if you operate a SWOB you require a Waste Incineration Directive (WID) compliant permit to operate in addition to your PPC A permit.

DAERA: Guidance on waste incineration including small waste oil burners

In Scotland, if you operate a SWOB you require a WID compliant permit to operate in addition to your PPC Part A permit.

SEPA: Energy from waste

If you store, handle, transport, treat, recover, reuse or recycle waste oil or waste catering oil you must hold a waste management licence or an exemption and meet your requirements under Duty of Care

Duty of care - your waste responsibilities

Waste catering oils are classified as animal by-products. You must comply with the Animal by-Products Regulations if you collect, store, handle treat or reprocess waste catering oils.

Animal by-products and food waste

You must dispose of all waste ash from SWOBs regularly, using sealed, dust tight plastic bags to contain the ash throughout collection, storage, transportation and disposal.

If you store, handle or treat waste catering oils or vegetable oils, you must comply with the Animal by-Products Regulations. You must store and treat waste catering oils separately from all other wastes. You must only store, treat or reprocess waste catering oils on waterproof, weatherproof surfaces which are housed under cover, and which animals, including birds, cannot access.

Pollution prevention and control permits

Hazardous / special waste

Waste oils are classified as hazardous/special waste. You must follow regulations for dealing with hazardous/special waste. You must not dispose of oil at a landfill that is not registered to receive hazardous/special waste.

Hazardous / special waste


You must not dispose of waste oil into any skip or waste bin. This would contaminate all the waste within the skip, which you would then have to treat as hazardous/special waste. This could greatly increase your waste disposal costs.


You must not mix waste oil with any paints or solvents. You must not burn paint or solvents in your SWOB. Do not pour oil into a drain, or allow it to contaminate any land, ground or surface waters, (eg streams, rivers or burns) or air. Locate your storage facilities and SWOB as far from watercourses as possible.

You must prevent ethanol, methanol or sodium hydroxide used in the transesterification process for waste catering oils from causing any land, water or air pollution. Store all chemicals separately, as far from watercourses as possible, in secure, labelled, waterproof and leakproof drums.

You must ensure all waste glycerol and filters are reused, recycled or disposed of by a licensed waste management company.

If you store any kind of oil on your premises you may need to comply with the Regulations for Oil Storage.

Oil storage

GPP 2 Above ground oil storage tanks

You must ensure that your SWOBs comply with clean air legislation.

Air pollution from furnaces, boilers and bonfires

You must ensure potential odours from flue gases or storage tank breathers from waste oil tanks do not create a statutory nuisance.

Noise, odour and other nuisances

If you use a vapourising burner, you must inspect your smoke emissions weekly.

Oil filters

You must ensure that you remove all waste oil from oil filters before you send the remaining metal for reprocessing. You must treat all waste oil filters and waste oil as hazardous/special waste.

Hazardous / special waste

You must not make any discharge to surface water or groundwater without consulting your environmental regulator. If you discharge without an authorisation, permit or consent from your environmental regulator you could be prosecuted and fined or imprisoned.

Preventing water pollution

You must not discharge trade effluent to a public sewer without trade effluent consent or a trade effluent agreement with your water and sewerage company or authority. If you discharge without a consent or agreement you could be prosecuted and fined or imprisoned.

Trade effluent - managing liquid wastes

Good practice

Ensure your burner is operating as efficiently as possible, by checking for leaks in seals where air might leak into the burner. Any sudden increases in the amount of oil you use may indicate leaks in seals or your storage tanks.

Follow the waste lubricating oil quality protocol

The waste lubricating oil (WLO) quality protocol means that WLO will no longer be classified as waste when used as processed fuel oil, providing you meet the criteria set out in the quality protocol. This means WLO can be used without waste management controls.

For example, if it is not classed as a waste, you do not need to transport it using a waste carrier or with a waste transfer note.

The quality protocol for WLO applies in Northern Ireland.

GOV.UK: Waste lubricating oil quality protocol

Further information

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