2 February 2016 by Daisy Phillipson

Scotland tightens waste tyre licensing rules

The Scottish Government is tightening up its licensing rules on the storage and disposal of waste tyres, in a bid to clamp down on illegal operators.

Subject to parliamentary approval, the Waste Management Licensing (Scotland) Amendment Regulations will come into force on 30 March 2016 and will mean all operators will require a license to process tyres.

New licensing rules are in place for tyre recycling operators in Scotland

New licensing rules are in place for the storage of waste tyres in Scotland

Prior to the changes, regulations allow operators to register an exemption to store up to 1,000 waste tyres (just under 10 tonnes) on a site at any one time, as long as they log the exemption with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

However, the Scottish Government is introducing the more stringent legislation after incidents involving unlicensed operators. This includes a case, highlighted by the Scottish Government, where more than 100,000 tyres were illegally stored near Wishaw General Hospital, in North Lanarkshire (see letsrecycle.com story).


Environment secretary Richard Lochhead said: “The illicit disposal and storage of waste tyres is dangerous and costs the taxpayer a fortune to clean up. It is extremely concerning the way the current system is being persistently abused by irresponsible operators, including organised crime gangs which are known to target the waste industry.

“That is why the Scottish government is strengthening the legislation so that all waste tyre processing will require a license. This will help put a stop to illegal dumping and other unsafe practices, which will in turn reduce the risk of large, toxic and potentially deadly fires.

“Removing the existing exemption should also make it harder for unscrupulous operators to undercut legitimate, licensed companies which responsibly dispose of and recycle waste tyres.”


SEPA, which enforces the regulations in Scotland, welcomed the announcement last week (26 January) that legislation will be strengthened and said it is an important step in tackling waste crime.

Calum MacDonald, SEPA’s executive director, said: “Organised crime in the waste industry is a real problem which puts our environment and communities at risk, and undermines legitimate businesses.

“This will help put a stop to illegal dumping and other unsafe practices, which will in turn reduce the risk of large, toxic and potentially deadly fires.”

Richard Lochhead, environment secretary
Scottish Government

“Our vision is a waste sector which is free from environmental crime. New enforcement powers, enhanced intelligence gathering and working in partnership with other agencies has helped us to make significant progress towards this vision.

“The introduction of new rules on licences to process waste tyres will make it much more difficult for illegal operators to flout the regulations, and will be a key asset as we continue to crack down on waste crime.”

Peter Taylor, REA

Peter Taylor, secretary general at the Tyre Recovery Association (TRA) has said that he broadly welcomes the new licensing rules.

Speaking to letsrecycle.com, he said: “I’m not saying that exemptions are a problem with general waste operators, but we do get them in the tyre industry so the new rules will benefit the sector and will benefit all legitimate operators. Now we would like to see similar actions take place south of the border.”


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