Waste Carriers

Are you affected?

Householders moving their own waste or businesses moving waste within a premises are not required to register as waste carriers.

In England and Wales.

If you are having waste collected, it is a requirement of the Duty of Care that you ensure the person collecting the waste is a registered waste carrier. An archived EA Guidance document helps to determine whether you are affected but the NRW website has a much better explanation of the difference between Upper and Lower tier activities.

In general, ff you carry waste on a professional basis or carry building or demolition waste that you have generated, you shuld be registered as an UPPER TIER carrier and appear on the Agency public register.

If you have previously been exempt and carry your own waste (other than building and demolition) waste on a ‘normal and regular basis’, from 1 January 2014, you are classed as a LOWER TIER carrier and will appear on a separate public register.

This means that regardless of the type of business you operate, if you carry waste on more than just the occasional trip to a disposal site, you must be registered.

Examples of Lower Tier registrations might be:

  • Businesses that collect confidential waste from their different locations to centralise at Head Office.
  • Businesses where maintenance teams carry waste items.
  • Solicitors that take their waste paper to a paper merchant once a month.
  • Healthcare Trusts where nurses travel with waste sharps in their car.
  • Carpet fitters who take away offcuts.
  • Charities collecting printer cartridges.

Examples of Upper Tier include:

  • Waste Management companies.
  • Plumbers carrying waste pipework.
  • Builders carrying rubble or wood offcuts.

There is now only a brief explanation on the requirements for waste carrier registration on the GOV.UK website.

In Scotland

The same principles apply, but there is no Upper and Lower Tiers. Instead, those that fit into the Upper Tier description above must register as Waste Carriers whilst those that fit into the Lower Tier description must notify SEPA that they are Professional Collectors and Transporters of Waste.

Further details are on the SEPA website.

In Northern Ireland

The Waste (NI) Regulations effectively apply the Upper/Lower Tier principle in a similar way to England and Wales.

Further details are on the NIEA website.

What is required?

For England and Wales

There is now one registration process that is on the GOV.UK website.

For UPPER TIER carriers, on registration, there is a new requirement to provide details of any convictions of any ‘relevant person’ of the business – Directors, Managers etc. If there is a change in any of these relevant persons, the EA must be informed within 28 days through the completion of a new form which must also details any convictions. UPPER TIER registration must be renewed every three years.

For LOWER TIER registrations, there is no fee and once registered, there are no renewal requirements.

Further details and access to the Public Register are here.

Business whose registered address in the devolved administrations must register with the apprpriate agency.


Northern Ireland


Previous Exemptions

The following activities were previously exempt from registration but operators must now register as Lower Tier (England, Wales and NI) or as a Professional Collector and Transporter of Waste (Scotland).

  • A charity or voluntary organisation

  • A waste collection authority

  • A waste disposal authority

  • A waste regulation authority

  • A carrier who only transports:

    • Animal by-products

    • Waste from a mine or quarry

    • Waste from premises used for agriculture

  • If you carry your own waste other than construction or demolition waste


The fee’s vary between Agencies and are subject to change annually. As at 1 Jan 2015:

  Initial registration Renewal
England and Wales £154 £105
Scotland £162 £111
Northern Ireland £135 £69

How can I check if a carrier is registered?

The Environment Agency operates an On-line Public Register where you can check to find a registered waste carrier or check the validity of someone claiming to be a registered Waste Carrier. This includes Upper and Lower Tier Waste Carriers.

SEPA also has an online database of Scottish-registered carriers.

NRW public register

NIEA public register

Republic of Ireland public register

Further information