Wales Waste Law

The management of municipal waste and land use planning – principal differences between Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. A similar summary table exists on the Defra website of the differences in Landfill Allowance schemes across the UK. If you wish to look at a specific policy area, click on the relevant heading.

Waste policy has been devolved to the Welsh Assembly.

The Government of Wales Act 2006 enables the Welsh Assembly to bring forward its own programme of legislation, subject to scrutiny and approval by the National Assembly for Wales.

Following a referendum in 2011, the Assembly can now make laws for Wales on subjects for which the Assembly and the Welsh Assembly Government are already responsible, without needing permission from the UK Parliament first.

Overarching, long-term framework for resource efficiency sustainable waste management.

Implementation via:
1.  6 key Sector Plans, including municipal C&I, Food and Retail Sectors

2.   Staturory Recycling and Recovery Targets

3.   Supporting Waste Prevention Programme (currently out for consultation)

Wales has a single tier of 22 local authorities, which are supported by the Welsh Local Government Associations (WLGA).

There are 3 regional waste planning areas in Wales which include the North Region, the South East Wales Region and the South Wales Region.

Review of the Regional Waste Plans in 2009 helped shape Toward Zero Waste, the Welsh Waste Strategy 2010

To reduce the administrative burden placed on local authorities through Assembly Government planning requirements, the Welsh Plan Rationalisation Programmed places no requirement on local authorities to produce individual waste management plans.

Under the Welsh Plan Rationalisation Programme to reduce the administrative burden placed on local authorities through Assembly Government planning requirements, there is no requirement for local authorities to produce individual waste management plans.

The Landfill allowances Scheme (Wales) Regulations 2004 came into force on 1 October 2004. 

The biodegradable content of collected municipal waste is assumed to be 61% by weight.

Penalties for exceeding allowances are set at £200/tonne of BMW.

The scheme has never permitted the transfer or trading of allowances.

Recycling, preparation for reuse or composting of LA municipal waste:

52% by 2012-13 (achieved)
58% by 2015/15
64% by 2019/20
70% by 2024/25

90% reuse/recycling of C&D wastes by 2025

Maximum 30% residual waste by 2025.

No more than 30% waste to landfill by 2025.

The Hazardous Waste (Wales) Regulations 2005 implement the Hazardous Waste Directive (Directive 91/689/EC) in Wales, and require segregation and separate storage of hazardous wastes.

The Waste (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Wales) Regulations 2011 are supplementary to the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011, and make amendments to several Welsh statutory instruments for the purposes of transposing, in relation to Wales, Directive 2008/98/EC – for example, with regards to application of the waste hierarchy.

The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 have further updated regulation relating to hazardous in order to meet Directive 2008/98/EC requirements (e.g ban on mixing hazardous wastes)

Towards Zero Waste sets waste reduction targets of:

  • 1.5% per year until 2050 (based on 2007 baseline)
  • 27% reduction in wastes by 2025 (based on 2007 baseline)

The Public Sector Plan set out in Toward Zero Waste will establish the action plan objectives and targets for public bodies to reduce their waste arisings. Consultation due in 2012.

Wales Assembly Government support:

Revenue Support Grant, Sustainable Waste Management Grant, Regional Capital access Grant, Procurement Support, support for Food Waste Treatment Hubs and via the Residual Waste Treatment Consortia.

Best Value in Wales comes under the Wales Programme of Improvement

Quarterly Waste Data Flow returns to the Environment Agency Wales.

Most local authorities are part of a Municipal Waste Benchmarking Club run by the Wales Audit Office.

All 22 councils in Wales are APSE members.

Co-ordinated by WLGA, the Waste Improvement Programme is developing a process of benchmarking waste finance data.

Not paid in Wales as the WDA and WCA are combined in each Unitary Authority. Third party recycling payments are paid (e.g. to community sector groups).

Waste Awareness Wales is national consumer campaign designed to promote sustainable waste management practices,  e.g  free e-card service to  reduce paper waste, Clothes Swap ideas, Home Composting promotion.

Wales committed to the RecycleNow brand.

Landfill Tax Credit Scheme  funds spent on strategic projects to implement the Wales waste strategy

Wales Government (WG) fund the Welsh Local Government Association Peer Review initiative to review the performance of each local authority and identify and disseminate good practice.

Waste and Resource Action Programme support (WRAP)

WRAP Wales support programme for construction & manufacturing sector, composting, and businesses.

The community waste recycling sector is represented by the Wales Community Recycling Network, Cylch. The organisation receives core funding from WG.

Being consulted on at present; proposed targets:

Waste reduction by 1.2% per year to 2050 (based on 2006/7 levels)

 Aim is to achieve 27% reduction in waste by 2025, “zero waste” by 2050 i.e either prevented, reused or recycled/composted.

 Action focused at food, paper, card, clothing, consumer goods, plastic (packaging)

 A key objective of the proposed Waste Prevention Programme is to break the link between waste generation & economic growth; i.e. making the best use of resources by efficient processes & product design/ decoupling waste generation from economic growth.

e.g All products designed for disassembly & reuse or recycling; recycling processes will be closed loop or employ “upcycling”; as far as possible recyclate will be used in Welsh manufacturing processes

Mandatory recycling and recovery targets and potential penalties of £200/tonne over target if not achieved:


Proposed 4Es model of behaviour change for Waste Prevention. Campaigns: engaging, enabling, encouraging and execmplifying.

Economic Benefits:

A key aim of the zero Waste Plan is to design out waste, develop technologies to deal with the waste that is produced as sustainably as possible, and to manage waste within Wales where possible.   In doing so, waste will be reduced (saving money); jobs and markets will be created within Wales.

New Technologies are currently being tested: nappy recycling trail with 2 Welsh Councils -