Important changes are coming in relation to waste wood


The Environment Agency (EA) has confirmed that the Regulatory Position Statement (RPS) 250 is to be withdrawn, starting from September 1st 2023. This regulation, implemented 2 years ago in August 2021, allows for the temporary storage, processing and mixing of certain hazardous waste wood, specifically from demolition and refurbishment activities with non-hazardous wood (with a few exceptions).  

The decision means businesses must make immediate changes to the way they handle their waste wood, especially any AWS Nationwide customers operating in the construction or demolition industry 

Understanding RPS 250  

RPS 250 is an update that allows potentially hazardous waste wood from construction to be transported and processed as non-hazardous when mixed with non-hazardous wood waste. This was permitted until extensive testing was carried out by the Wood Recyclers Association (WRA). Their findings concluded that the hazardous content in certain wood collections were too high for the waste to be treated in its current state under RPS 250 and the decision to withdraw it was made. 

  • How does this impact my current waste management?  

The wood waste applicable to this has been commonly found from structures built in 2007 or before. Whilst this is not guaranteed, it is important to consider this factor when determining if your business will be affected.  

The Environment Agency has said that the withdrawal is a time for businesses to do the following: 

  • Understand the quantities and types of hazardous waste wood arising from demolition and refurbishment activities. 
  • Apply for a permit to accept hazardous waste wood if there is a market and business need.  

Businesses need to be aware that some forms of wood waste previously sent to a recycling facility will now be classified as hazardous waste and sent to a facility that works in accordance with this. Relevant to items found in structures in 2007 or prior, wood will need to be analysed to see if its hazardous. 

Wood waste classification AWS Nationwide

Wood Waste Classification Guide

The following flow chart details the initial questions that need to be asked when assessing whether your waste wood should be classed as hazardous or non-hazardous.  See guidance pages for further definitions and examples and complete a wood waste WM3 Assessment Confirmation in Appendix 1 to demonstrate that the assessments have been completed. 

How do I tell if my wood waste is hazardous?  

To further assist, The WRA has produced a Wood Grading System which has guidelines to assist you. They are working on the principle that the more testing producers undertake will lead to more items being removed from the current potentially hazardous list.  

If you are unsure about how this legislation could impact your waste management and would like to discuss further, please reach out to the account management team.