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Household Recycling Centre e-permit scheme

Click here to apply for your free e-permit online

From October 2019, you will need an e-permit to dispose of household waste at our nine Household Recycling Centres using a commercial-type vehicle or any trailer in excess of 1.5m length (excluding the towing mechanism) or 570 litre capacity.

E-permits are free of charge and will only be issued to Cambridgeshire residents on a per household basis. The e-permit allows a maximum of 12 visits to a site within a 12 month period. If you use up your allowance, you will have to wait until the 12 month period has passed to renew your e-permit.

A vehicle that requires a permit and is towing a trailer of any accepted size will count as two visits if they both contain waste.

Residents without internet access can obtain a permit by telephoning 0345 045 5207.

The following vehicles require a permit

  • Vans
  • Pick-ups / crew cabs
  • Campervans and minibuses with rear seats and fittings removed

Vehicles must be no larger than a standard Transit van (5m length and 2m high)

  • Trailers between 1.5m and 2.5m in length (excluding the towing mechanism) or 570 litre capacity

Hire vehicles that fit into the above categories, being used to dispose of household waste, also require a valid e-permit.

Vehicles excluded from site

  • Vehicles larger than a standard, short wheelbase low roof Transit van (5m length and 2m high)
  • Horse boxes
  • Tractors
  • Driver and van services
  • Trailers over 2.5m in length (excluding towing mechanism)

Further information

In recent years, the amount of waste taken to Cambridgeshire’s Household Recycling Centres (HRCs) increased by 20% (40% at the St Neots site).

This increase in waste is putting increasing pressure on council budgets, and makes sites busier, leading to congestion and slower visit times. 

All neighbouring councils have introduced measures to reduce the amount of business and construction and demolition waste being disposed of at their sites. This has resulted in diversion of further waste to Cambridgeshire sites where fewer restrictions apply. 

Increasing costs for disposal of waste created by construction and demolition activities through skips etc, have also led to more of this type of waste being taken to Household Recycling Centres. Sites are not required to accept construction and demolition waste, but Cambridgeshire allows restricted amounts from residents undertaking small scale DIY in their own homes.

E-permit schemes are a nationally recognised way of regulating business waste tipping. The scheme will enable closer monitoring of waste delivered in commercial type vehicles and larger trailers, which are more likely to be carrying business waste or construction and demolition waste beyond acceptable limits.

The e-permit scheme will also help to reduce site congestion and delays for legitimate site users, as well as running costs that are funded by Cambridgeshire taxpayers.

Household Recycling Centres are provided for Cambridgeshire residents to dispose of their own household waste. Waste created by business activities should be disposed of through commercial waste collections or at disposal sites licensed to accept business waste.

We are only licensed to accept household waste, and acceptance of business waste could result in licences being withdrawn and sites being closed.

Non-Cambridgeshire residents cannot apply for e-permits, and should make appropriate arrangements for disposal of their waste in the county where they live.

The e-permit will generate a unique number allocated to your vehicle registration number and address. Once you have received the confirmation email containing your unique number, you can use your e-permit straightaway. 

On arrival at a Household Recycling Centre, your vehicle registration number will be scanned by site staff using a handheld device to confirm that a valid e-permit is in place for your vehicle. A check will be made that waste types and amounts carried are acceptable. You will then be allowed to dispose of your household waste. 

After making a visit to the Household Recycling Centre, you will receive an email confirming your visit and the number of available visits remaining. Where a vehicle requiring an e-permit and a trailer are used, both containing waste, two visits will be deducted from your e-permit. 

E-permits expire one year from the application date, or when all 12 visits have been used within that year. No reminder will be issued for renewal, so please keep a note of the date. You should also keep the unique number allocated to your vehicle safe as you will need it to renew your permit or make any alterations to your details. 

You can renew your e-permit using the online application form. You will need your e-permit and postcode to do this.

Hire vehicles 

If you are hiring a commercial-type vehicle or trailer to transport your household waste, you still need to apply for an e-permit. You will also be required to present the hire papers and proof of residence in Cambridgeshire to staff at the Household Recycling Centre upon arrival. 

Permit requirements are based on the towing vehicle, so trailers do not need to be registered, but must be within maximum allowable dimensions, and must display the registration plate of the towing vehicle. 

If you hire another commercial-type vehicle within 12 months of the start of your e-permit, then you will need to use the 'edit' option on the e-permit application system to enter the new hire vehicle registration details. Please remember to take your hire documents and proof of address with you to the site, each time you visit with a hire vehicle. 

Borrowed vehicles

If a commercial-type vehicle is borrowed from a friend, family member or neighbour, a valid e-permit is still required. This can be the owner’s e-permit, but a visit will be registered against their allowance. You will not be able to register the vehicle on your e–permit unless it is removed from the owner's e-permit first (if they have one).

Trailers requiring e-permits can be borrowed as long as an e-permit is in place for the towing vehicle, and the trailer displays the correct registration number for the vehicle towing it. Please note that the maximum trailer size acceptable is 2.5m long (excluding towing mechanism).

Modified and bespoke vehicles 

If you have a bespoke vehicle and are unsure if the e-permit scheme will apply to you, please contact the Waste Management Team at [email protected]. Please provide as much detail as possible about the vehicle and photographs.  

Vehicles adapted for mobility reasons

If you have a vehicle that would require an e-permit and has been adapted for mobility reasons, please register the vehicle for a permit in the normal way. If the vehicles exceeds maximum dimensions as a result of the adaptation, please contact the Waste Management Team at [email protected]

For the purpose of the e-permit scheme, a commercial-type vehicle is considered to have any one of the following features:

  • designed to carry goods, not people;
  • no rear windows (this means rear windows which are side-facing);
  • no rear seats;
  • an open back;
  • a back which is separate to the main cab area.

If you believe your vehicle is being incorrectly classified under our e-permits scheme, please contact the Waste Management Team at [email protected]  providing as much detail as possible about your vehicle, including photographs where possible.

If your household has more than one commercial-type vehicle, you will have to decide which vehicle is most suitable for your use. Only one e-permit will be approved per address.

If you have a vehicle that does require an e-permit and is used for trade purposes and sign written, you will only be allowed to deposit your own household waste. If you are found to be depositing someone else's waste, or waste classified as trade, you could have your permit revoked.

If you have a vehicle that does not require an e-permit and is used for trade purposes and sign written, you can use this vehicle but only to dispose of your own household waste.

If your only vehicle is excluded from site, you will need to make alternative arrangements for disposing of your waste:

  • District / city councils in Cambridgeshire operate bulky waste collection services and a range of commercially provided services. Please visit your local district / city council's website for information.
  • Hire or borrow a vehicle or trailer - please refer to the section on this page explaining how the e-permit scheme works in relation to hired and borrowed vehicles.
  • Other options can be found by searching the internet. Please make sure you use the correct disposal route for the type of waste to be disposed of. Information about legal requirements for disposal of business waste and Duty of Care requirements when passing your own waste to another person can be found at www.recap.co.uk/fly-tipping

If you have recently moved house and you already have an e-permit, then please use the 'edit' option on the e-permit application system. If the previous owners of your new address had an e-permit that hasn’t been updated you may be required to contact [email protected].

Please note, your vehicle will be recognised by the e-permit application system, so you will not be able to apply for a new e-permit with the same vehicle at your new address. You will be able to edit your existing e-permit to change address with the same vehicle.

If you attempt to register a vehicle for an e-permit that is already registered on another e-permit, you will receive a message telling you to contact [email protected]. Following checks the vehicle will be removed from the previous e-permit and you will be able to register it. You may be asked to provide further information such as proof of ownership.

DIY waste

Visit the Household Recycling Centres page to read our policy on disposing of DIY waste. If you have more than the maximum allowable amount, you will need to make arrangements with a commercial waste service provider through hire of a skip, skip bag, grab vehicle collection or similar. Your local district / city council will accept certain types of waste through their bulky collection services. Please check their website for details.

Business waste

Business waste is defined as waste arising from any trade, business, industrial or commercial activities. It also applies to anyone who has received payment for carrying waste or produces waste from their work. Waste created by tradesman carrying out work at your property is business waste and should be disposed of by them.

Household Recycling Centres are provided for disposal of household waste only. If staff suspect that waste might be from business sources they will ask the vehicle driver to complete a declaration form confirming that waste is from their household and that the driver has not been paid to transport or dispose of it.

Businesses presenting their waste as household waste at Household Recycling Centres are committing a criminal offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. This could result in a £50,000 fine and / or two years imprisonment for the offender.

To legally dispose of business waste it is necessary to arrange a commercial waste collection from your premises by a properly licensed waste disposal company, or take it to a site that is licensed to accept business waste. If transporting business waste you should register for a Waste Carriers Licence. Records of business waste disposal should be retained in accordance with Duty of Care requirements.

Options for the disposal of business waste can be found through a web search for business or trade waste in Cambridgeshire.

Apply for a Waste Carrier's Licence

Tenanted property waste

Tenant's waste or waste arising as a result of a rental agreement is classed as business waste because the tenants are or were paying rent to live at the property. Landlords should follow the same business waste disposal route. View our tenanted property's policy on our Household Recycling Centres page.

Multiple visits can be made to a Household Recycling Centre in one day. Please note each visit to a site is counted separately and deducted from your e-permit allowance. There can only be 12 visits in a year.

During an initial period whilst the scheme is being introduced, you may be granted a discretionary visit. However, your vehicle details will be logged by site staff and this visit will count towards one of your twelve permitted visits in a year when you do register.

Vehicle details are recorded and site staff will be aware that you have been granted a discretionary visit if you attend any site again without registering for an e-permit. You will not be granted a second discretionary visit, so if further visits are required, please apply for an e-permit before your next visit.​

Site staff at Household Recycling Centres have a hand held device to scan the e-permit holder's vehicle registration number when entering site. This will be recorded electronically and the e-permit holder will receive an email advising how many trips remain after the visit. 

A record is kept of all visits made against e-permits, showing vehicle used, when the visit took place and at which site. This will be used to monitor use of the scheme and resolve any disputes regarding the number of visits that have taken place.

Checks will be made for indications that the e-permit system is being abused and could result in e-permits being cancelled or prosecution of offenders.

Waste being carried by any vehicle for disposal at a Household Recycling Centre may be inspected by site staff. Anyone suspected of depositing business waste will be challenged and asked to complete a declaration that waste is from a household source. Vehicles containing suspected business waste may be turned away by site staff.

All site users must comply with site rules and waste acceptance policies.

Commercial-type vehicles and larger trailers are being targeted as these are considered most likely to be carrying business waste or excessive amounts of DIY waste.  

Details of current waste policies can be found on our Household Recycling Centres page.

Depending on the type of waste being deposited, e-permit holders and car users may be asked to fill in a Household Waste Declaration Form by site staff to confirm that the waste is from their own household. It is intended to prevent traders from abusing the system by entering the site in domestic vehicles and disposing of business waste. 

Most areas where similar schemes have been introduced have seen no significant increase in fly-tipping.

Fly-tipping is a criminal offence punishable by a fine of up to £50,000 or 12 months imprisonment if convicted in a Magistrates' Court. If people fly-tip to avoid e-permit requirements and offenders can be identified, enforcement action will be taken.

Cambridgeshire councils are working jointly to raise awareness of and tackle fly-tipping. Information can be found at www.recap.co.uk/fly-tipping/.

Terms and conditions

HRC e-permit scheme terms and conditions

Size: 138.73 KB File format: pdf

HRC vehicle size restriction policy

Size: 384.56 KB File format: pdf

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