Search site

Residential Permits - Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC)

Information for residents wishing to obtain an exemption permit for the Household Waste Recycling Centres.

pdf icon Privacy Notice-Operational Services-Waste Services general customer enquiries (email, letter and phone) [87kb]

From 1st April 2018 Commercial Waste is no longer accepted at any of West Lothian Council Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC).

Please note: commercial waste is any waste produced or transported by commercial contractors (organisations, commercial premises, traders, charities, landlords, restaurants, hotels, etc.) even if it originates from residential properties.

Entry Requirements

Household Waste Recycling Centre Assistants may request valid ID such as a current driving licence or passport and recent council tax or utility bill  to anybody accessing the sites. All the details in these documents should match.

Anybody failing to produce the documents when requested will be asked to leave the site and return when they are able to produce them. 

There are Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) and CCTV systems installed at all Household Waste Recycling Centres which captures number plates entering and exiting the site to monitor vehicle usage and identify potential misuse by non-household customers.

Exemption - Permit Required

Liveried vans and commercial vehicles are not allowed into our recycling centres without a permit.

If you want to use a liveried vehicle to dispose of non-commercial waste you can apply for a residential permit. 

A Residential Exemption Permit will allow a West Lothian household to visit the sites 24 times in a year to dispose of their own household waste only.

Note that only one permit will be issued per household.

A residential exemption does not permit someone to carry waste from any other household.

Users exceeding the 24 uses per year or being suspected of bringing in material associated with commercial activities will be subject to investigation by the council and the information passed to SEPA (Scottish Environmental Protection Agency) & HMRC (Her Majesty Revenue & Customs) for regulatory consideration.

Note that under current regulations maximum penalties for fly-tipping are £40,000 fine and/or up to two years imprisonment.

Exemption - No Permit Required

A West Lothian household hiring a van will be allowed to visit Household Waste Recycling Centres, as long as they can show valid ID such as a current driving licence or passport and recent council tax or utility bill, and a copy of the hire contract to the Recycling Centre Assistant each time they visit. All details in these documents should match.

West Lothian household can apply for a Residential Exemption Permit by:  

  • Sending completed downloadable form pdf icon Residential Exemption Form 04/09/18 [152kb] with all the supporting documentation via email to whscadmin@westlothian.gov.uk
  • Sending paper copies of downloadable form  pdf icon Residential Exemption Form 04/09/18 [152kb] and all supporting documentation via post to 4 Inchmuir Road, Whitehill Industrial Estate (Bathgate) EH48 2EP 
  • Bringing the completed form and supporting documentation in person to the Whitehill Service Centre 4 Inchmuir Road, Whitehill Industrial Estate (Bathgate) EH48 2EP between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm Monday to Friday

A Residential Exemption Permit will only be issued once supporting documentation has been inspected and processed for approval.

Supporting documentation

To apply for Residential Exemption Permit applicants will also be required to provide evidence of:

  • How their business (if self-employed) or the business they work for is disposing of their waste. This information can be found on your or your employer's Waste Transfer Note
  • Their current employment status. If the applicant is retired or unemployed, confirmation from the Department of Work and Pension (DWP), or pension provider, on their employment status would be required to support their application for a Residential exemption

Additionally, a letter of comfort from their employer (on headed paper, or an email from an official address) agreeing to the use of the vehicle for transportation of only the employees own household waste would be required if the vehicle does not belong to the applicant.

Accessing HWRC's using a Residential Exemption Permit

Anybody accessing any WLC Household Waste Recycling Centre using a Residential Exemption Permit will be required to produce:

  • Original Residential exemption Permit (copies will not be accepted)
  • Valid ID such as a current driving licence or passport and recent council tax or utility bill.

Failure to produce these documents will result in the vehicle being instructed to leave the sites.

Further guidance and site rules:


Frequently Asked Questions

Why are you making these changes?

This has been implemented to prevent commercial organisations from disposing of their waste free of charge at our Household Waste Recycling Centres and passing on subsequent disposal costs to West Lothian Council and its council tax payers as part of the 'Transforming Your Council' decisions.

Similar to all Scottish councils - West Lothian Council faces significant budget challenges.

The Scottish Government - who provide the council with 80% of its funding - has given the council a real terms decrease in core funding of £7.5 million for 2018/19. However, West Lothian's population is expected to increase by 10,000 over the next five years, increasing demand for council services such as schools and social care. This, combined with rising costs for services, means that the council's budget gap totals nearly £14 million for 2018/19 and £65 million over the next five years (2018/19 - 2022/23).

To allow West Lothian Council to balance its budget a number of changes to existing services are being made, including changes to what waste can be accepted and then disposed of at Household Waste Recycling Centres.

Is there any charge for the Residential Exemption Permit?

No, the permit is free of charge as it allows households to dispose of only their own household waste.

Can somebody else use somebody's Residential Exemption Permit?

No, only the person/s named on the permit is entitled to use the permit. Site attendants will request photo ID and proof of residence along with the permit and all the details (names, address and vehicle details should match). Otherwise site attendants will ask the person to leave the site.

Can somebody borrow a van from a private owner and apply for Residential Exemption Permit?

Yes. They will need to mark that they have borrowed the vehicle in the application form. Applicants will always need to attach the relevant supporting documents required depending on their particular circumstances.

Can somebody borrow a van from his/her employer and apply for a Residential Exemption Permit?

Yes. They will need to mark that they have borrowed the vehicle from work in the application form. They will also be required to provide a proof of legal disposal of waste and letter of comfort from the employer stating that the applicant is allowed to use the employer's van for disposing of household waste.

I need more information about the supporting documents that you require to process my application.

Evidence of current employment status

If you are retired or unemployed, we will ask for evidence such as a letter from the Department of Work and Pension (DWP) or your pension provider.

Your last unemployment award letter which will detail something like Income Support, ESA - Employment and Support Allowance, PIP - Personal Independence Payment would be sufficient.

Your last award letter from the Department of Work and Pension

Everybody unemployed or retired receives a new award letter every April showing their new payments. If you do not have one, contact the DWP for this letter prior to applying for Residential Exemption Permit.

Waste Transfer Note

This document details how businesses are disposing of their waste.

Waste Transfer Notes are evidence of the proper transfer of waste. For example, when bins or skip are collected or when you take your waste to an organisation.

We will ask for this if you are self-employed or employed and you are using any liveried vehicle. 

Letter of comfort
This is a letter from your employer (on headed paper or an email from an official address) agreeing to the use of the vehicle for transportation of your own household waste.

We will ask for this if you are using your employers' commercial vehicle to dispose of household waste.

Why do you require a Waste transfer note from a self-employed applicant?

 Historically, large numbers of companies and self-employed people have claimed their waste was from their own house when challenged by Recycling Centre Attendants, to avoid paying for their waste disposal.

That is why West Lothian Council is asking employed applicants to provide evidence of how the business they work for is disposing of their waste, normally by presenting a Waste Transfer Note from the last 6 months.

Waste Transfer Notes are evidence of the proper transfer of waste. For example, when bins or skip are collected or when you take your waste to an organisation.

As a business you have a legal responsibility to ensure that you produce, store, transport and dispose of your business waste without harming the environment. You are responsible for your waste from when you produce it until you have transferred it to an authorised person

You are legally required to keep waste transfer notes as a record for at least two years. This is sometimes also called a Duty of Care Note.

If your business carries out work at households any waste you produce is classed as business waste and all the above applies to you. This includes waste you collect when you deliver new items.

If you transport construction or demolition waste, or other people's waste you may need to register as a waste carrier, broker or dealer. If you wish to apply for registration as a waste carrier, broker or dealer visit Waste carriers and brokers on SEPA website

Your application for Residential Exemption permit will only be granted if you can provide proof of legal transfer of waste i.e. Waste Transfer note in the last 6 month at the date of your application.

Why do you require a Waste Transfer note from an employed applicant?

We are asking for this evidence to prevent commercial organisations from disposing of their waste free of charge at our Recycling Centres and passing on subsequent disposal costs to West Lothian Council and its council tax payers

Historically, large numbers of companies and self-employed persons have claimed their business waste was from their own house when challenged by Recycling Centre Attendants.

That is why West Lothian Council is asking employed applicants to provide evidence of how the business they work for is disposing of their waste, normally by presenting a Waste Transfer Note from the last 6 months. This shows that they have proper waste disposal arrangements in place, so are unlikely to want to use the recycling centres. Employers can be reassured that West Lothian Council is not interested in any commercially sensitive information and we will not keep a record of this document.

Your application for Residential Exemption permit will only be granted if you can provide proof of legal transfer of waste i.e. Waste Transfer note in the last 6 month at the date of your application.

I don't generate any waste as my customers arrange the disposal of the waste generated as a result of my work.

If a business carries out work at properties, including households, any waste produced is classed as commercial waste. The business should arrange for this waste to be disposed, not left for the householder to dispose of or to put in their household bin.

You will be required to produce a Waste Transfer Note as evidence of proper transfer of Waste. This paperwork is generated every time a skip is taken by an approved registered Waste Management company or when you take commercial waste to an approved registered Waste Management company.

Note that if you transport construction or demolition waste, or other people's waste you may need to register as a waste carrier, broker or dealer. If you wish to apply for registration as a waste carrier, broker or dealer click on this link https://www.sepa.org.uk/regulations/waste/waste-carriers-and-brokers/

I have a small business and generate very little waste. Do the same legal responsibilities with regards commercial waste apply to me?

Yes. As a business you have a legal responsibility to ensure that you produce, store, transport and dispose of your business waste without harming the environment. Waste Transfer Notes are evidence of the proper transfer of waste. For example, when bins or skip are collected or when you take your waste to a suitably licensed waste facility.

You are legally required to keep waste transfer notes as a record for at least two years. This is sometimes also called a Duty of Care Note.

We are asking for this evidence to prevent commercial organisations from disposing of their waste free of charge at our Recycling Centres and passing on subsequent disposal costs to West Lothian Council and its council tax payers

If your business carries out work at households any waste you produce is classed as business waste and all the above applies to you. This includes waste you collect when you deliver new items.

If you transport construction or demolition waste, or other people's waste you may need to register as a waste carrier, broker or dealer.

Your application for Residential Exemption permit will only be granted if you can provide proof of legal transfer of waste i.e. Waste Transfer note in the last 6 month at the date of your application.

I run my business from home so I don't have any commercial waste

If you use part of your home to run your business then any waste from that is business waste and you are legally responsible for the legal disposal of any waste generated as a result of the business activity.

You are specifically responsible for your waste from when you produce it until you have transferred it to an authorized person. Every time you transfer waste you must complete waste transfer notes, including a full, accurate description of the waste, to document all waste you transfer, and keep them as a record for at least two years.

Waste Transfer Notes are evidence of the proper transfer of waste. For example, when bins or skip are collected or take your waste to a suitably licensed waste facility and provides evidence that you have proper waste disposal arrangements in place and so are unlikely dispose of your commercial waste through our sites.

I am mobile and do small jobs without an office or an address

Any waste that comes from a commercial activity is business waste and you are responsible for the legal disposal of this commercial waste.

You are specifically responsible for your waste from when you produce it until you have transferred it to an authorized person. Every time you transfer waste you must complete waste transfer notes, including a full, accurate description of the waste, to document all waste you transfer, and keep them as a record for at least two years.

Waste Transfer Notes are evidence of the proper transfer of waste. For example, when bins or skip are collected or take your waste to suitably licensed waste facility and provides evidence that you have proper waste disposal arrangements in place and so are unlikely dispose of your commercial waste through our sites.

I have just moved in to a new house and I do not have a proof of residence. How can I apply for Residential Exemption?

In this case, mortgage agreement, tenancy agreement and home insurance would also be accepted as proof of residence when producing this on Recycling Centre site attendant's request.

 

It is not fair that I have been restricted to 24 visits per year because I have a van for personal use.

 

24 visits per financial year were deemed as fair number of visits for a household to dispose of only their own household waste by using liveried vehicles. This equals to almost a visit every two weeks.

How do you enforce the limit of 24 visits on households which have been granted Residential Exemption Permits?

There are Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) and CCTV systems installed at all Household Waste Recycling Centres which captures number plates entering and exiting the site to monitor vehicle usage and identify potential misuse by non-household customers.

Does the Residential Exemption Permit expire?

Yes, your permit is valid for the financial year and it will need to be renewed.

I have a Residential Exemption Permit but I have been turned away by Recycling Centre Attendants

This can happen for a few reasons among others:

  • Recycling Centre Attendants identify your waste as commercial waste
  • You are not able to produce valid ID such as either a current driving licence or passport and recent council tax or utility bill 
  • The person visiting the Recycling Centre is not the person on the permit. Note that the person on the permit must be inside the vehicle on the permit.
  • The vehicle registration or vehicle details are not the ones on the permit
  • You have run out of the 24 visits per year
I don't have any form of Photo ID, what can I do?

We acknowledge that some West Lothian residents may not have any photo ID, if you have the old paper version of the driving licence and in this case we will accept this instead.

I have a European Driving license and the address is not on this document

You will still have to produce valid ID such as either a current driving licence or passport and recent council tax or utility bill if the Recycling Centre Attendant requested.

I use multiple restricted vehicles - can I use my permit for more than one?

 No, only one Residential Exemption Permit per household will be issued and only one restricted vehicle can be registered on this.

The Residential Exemption permit records your name, address and registration number of one of your vehicles. Site attendants will always check that the information in the permit match your vehicle, Photo ID and proof of residence. If anything does not match you will be ask to leave and update your permit.

If you would like to use multiple restricted vehicles you will need to hand in your old Residential Exemption Permit and apply for another to use the new restricted vehicle.

If successful, you will be giving a new permit with only the visits left on the current business year (1 April to 31 March). We may carry out checks with our ANPR system to ascertain how many visits the previous vehicle has done to the Recycling Centres.

I have changed my address. Do I need to report this to update my address in my Residential Exemption Permit?

Yes, If you would like to keep visiting the recycling centres using the restricted vehicle, then you will need to hand in your old Residential Exemption Permit and apply for another one with the correct address on it.

If successful, you will be given a new permit with only the visits left on the current business year (1 April to 31 March). We may carry out checks with our ANPR system to ascertain how many times the vehicle has visited the Recycling Centres.

I have changed my restricted vehicle. Do I need to report this to update the registration plate in the Residential Exemption Permit?

Yes, if you would like to use a new restricted vehicle you will need to hand in your old Residential Exemption Permit and apply for another to use the new restricted vehicle.

If successful, you will be giving a new permit with only the visits left on the current business year (1 April to 31 March). We may carry out checks with our ANPR system to ascertain how many visits the previous vehicle has done to the Recycling Centres.

I lost my Residential Exemption Permit. Can you give me a new one?

If you lose your permit, we will only give a maximum of one copy per year.

We will make your old permit invalid so it cannot be used at any Recycling Centre and we will issue a new one with only the remaining visits left on the current business year (1 April to 31 March). We may carry out checks with our ANPR system to ascertain how many visits the vehicle has made to the Recycling Centres.