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Digital drive for waste exemptions

A digital service to allow applications for waste exemptions to be made online has attracted 10,000 entries since it was launched in March. was set up by the Environment Agency (EA) to encourage business owners, including landowners and farmers, to switch away from paper or other registration processes.

Those with small quantities of waste or low-risk materials can register for a free exemption if they meet certain conditions rather than paying an annual fee for an environmental permit. 

It is estimated that 70,000 farmers will submit up to 500,000 agricultural waste exemptions this summer because most farms registered for a three-year exemption after new rules came into effect in 2013.

With many exemptions expiring in October, the EA expects to receive a high volume of applications.

The site has been modified following feedback from early users including:

  • new design to make it simpler and more intuitive
  • ability to access the service from more browsers and devices, including smartphones and tablets
  • increased accessibility for those with special user needs, including voice-activated software

Nicky Cunningham, deputy director of site-based regulation at the EA, said: “As we get ready to receive thousands of waste exemption registrations this summer, we are recommending farmers, landowners and businesses submit online using our improved service.

”We’ve gathered feedback from those registering exemptions to ensure the process is now simpler and more intuitive than ever before.”

The EA has an advice helpline on 03708 506506.

  • Alan Holmes, a senior waste officer at the EA’s national office, has written a blog about his role helping to boost public understanding of duty of care obligations. Read his blog here 

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