Skip the NI Direct Bar
Department of the Environment logo
Northern Ireland Environment Agency logo
Home > NIEA > Waste and Resources > Regulation > Transfrontier Shipments of Waste

Transfrontier Shipments of Waste

Last updated: 10 October 2014

Contact Us

If you require advice on the international shipment of waste, contact us on:
Tel: 028 9056 9742
Email: in New window

Do you transport waste into or out of Northern Ireland from or to countries outside the UK?

If so, you need to be aware that shipments of waste are subject to a range of regulatory controls. Our guide An introduction to moving waste between countries (.PDF 399Kb)Opens in New window provides an overview of the different types of controls that can apply.

The controls you need to comply with will depend on:

  • whether the waste is being sent for recovery or disposal - most shipments for disposal are prohibited, and if they are allowed they are subject to notification controls
  • if being moved for recovery, the type of waste - European legislation contains several annexes specifying different types of hazardous and non-hazardous waste. See Environment Agency's Consolidated waste list (.PDF 197Kb)
  • the 'status' of the countries of dispatch and destination. If you are moving waste within the EU, the procedures are different from those that apply if you are moving waste out of or into the EU or to and from OECD countries

View the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)Opens in New window website.

Transboundary waste shipments from the UK can be:

1. Prohibited

Movements are not allowed under any circumstances including almost all:

  • imports and exports for disposal
  • exports of hazardous waste to developing countries, even if moving for recovery

The UK policy document, the UK Plan for Shipments of Waste 2007 implements the long-standing UK policy of self-sufficiency in the disposal of waste by strictly limiting when waste may be shipped to or from the UK for disposal. DEFRA is presently consulting on a small amendment to this plan to allow for the possible export of contaminated non hazardous river sediments which you can review on DEFRA's websiteOpens in New window.

2. Notification controls

These apply to all permitted imports and exports of:

  • hazardous waste moving for recovery
  • any type of waste moving for disposal
  • and to some imports and exports of non-hazardous wastes for recovery

Where these controls apply you need our written permission before moving the waste. You must also comply with a range of other requirements. View our Notification controls.

3. Green list controls

These are the lowest level of control and only ever apply to some (but not all) imports or exports of non-hazardous waste for recovery. Where these controls apply you do not need our permission before moving the waste but you must comply with a range of other requirements. View our Green List Controls.

How can I find out which controls apply to my shipment?

If you are intending to ship waste from the UK to another country, see our guide (.PDF 430Kb)Opens in New window

If you are bringing waste into the UK from abroad, you should read Moving waste between countries: determining the controls on waste imports (.PDF 106Kb)Opens in New window

In all cases you will need to keep copies of the documents relating to the imported waste.

If you are receiving waste within the UK, you must ensure the proper procedures have been followed.

You will need to know if the waste import is allowed and, if so, under what controls. You will also be required to complete specified documents on receipt and completion of the recovery or disposal of the waste.

In the case of waste subject to notification controls, you will also be required to send copies of those documents to the person who sent the waste and to the relevant regulatory authorities.

Further guidance

Some of the EU and UK regulations and policies on international shipments of waste can be found below: