Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Waste exemptions for landscaping

Waste exemptions for landscaping

What you must do

If you keep, treat or dispose of waste you must have a waste management licence from your environmental regulator.

You may be able to register an exemption from the need to have a waste management licence for certain activities. If you operate under an exemption you must still ensure that your activity does not:

  • endanger human health or cause pollution to water, air or soil
  • constitute a risk to plants or animals
  • cause a nuisance in terms of noise or odour
  • adversely affect the countryside or places of special interest.

There are over 60 exemptions from the need for a waste management licence.

Exemptions relevant to landscaping

You may be able to chip, shred, cut or pulverise waste plant matter for recovery or reuse but the quantity of waste that is dealt with in any seven-day period or quantity stored at any one time must not exceed 1,000 tonnes.

You may be able to burn wood, bark or other plant matter on the site where the waste was produced if you burn less than 10 tonnes in 24 hours. You must not produce dark smoke.

You may be able to spread biodegradable wastes and soil from gardens and parks to agricultural land as long as it provides agricultural or ecological improvement to the land. You may also be able to spread these wastes on certain non-agricultural land, such as woodland, parks, gardens, verges, landscaped areas, sports or recreation grounds, as long as it provides ecological improvement.

If you have an exemption, you must comply with the exemption conditions.

Further information

NIEA: Waste management licensing

SEPA: Activities exempt from waste management licensing

Whats new on NetRegs

  • Waste – Duty of Care Roles and Responsibilities

    The Northern Ireland Environment Agency has published a short guide to the duty of care responsibilities including advice and information for waste producers, carriers and those accepting, storing and treating waste.



  • EIA (Agriculture) Regulations for Northern Ireland

    Any person intending to alter the use or management of areas of uncultivated or semi-natural land must obtain prior approval from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

    Read more on the DAERA website

  • Guidance from your environmental regulator

    Regulator logos

  • 9 NEW GPPs (Guidance for Pollution Prevention) available now

    The NetRegs team at SEPA, in partnership with The Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales and a number of industry bodies have produced 9 new GPPs to replace out of date PPGs. More are coming! Check the available topics

  • New guidance

    New guidance for Start-ups, charities and community projects


NetRegs on NetRegs on youTube

View our latest videos & subscribe to our channel.

NetRegs Update Newsletter

Free monthly email newsletter with environmental updates for Northern Ireland and Scotland

Sign up for free today!


NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms