Waste offences

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Waste offences
  • Waste offences
  • Sentencing these waste offences
  • Other waste related offences

Waste offences

Waste offences

The regulation of waste is governed by Part II of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA 1990), and the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016, SI 2016/1154. There are restrictions placed on landfill with waste such as tyres and liquids by the waste acceptance criteria. There are general offences that apply to waste as they do to polluting water in SI 2016/1154, reg 38.

See Practice Note: Water offences.

Anyone who deals with, treats or disposes of waste requires an environmental permit to do so. The purpose of this is to regulate the activities of businesses operating landfill sites, incinerators and waste treatment centres.

EPA 1990, s 33 provides for an offence of depositing controlled or extractive waste on or in any land without or in breach of a permit. The elements of the offence are:

  1. a person/company

  2. depositing, knowingly causing or knowingly permitting

  3. the deposit of controlled waste or extractive waste on land

  4. without, or other than in accordance with, an environmental permit

'Waste' is defined broadly and is anything that is intended to be or is required to be discarded, ie material that is disposed of or abandoned. This creates difficulties in interpretation as the expression 'intention to discard' is confusing, particularly when it is applied to recycling or reprocessing plants. For further information on the legal definition of 'waste', see Practice Note:

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