Important News – Wood Waste Handling Regulations: Launch of RPS 291

A 1-year regulatory position statement (RPS) has been released by The Environment Agency, which governs the treatment of hazardous wood. This enables the movement of ‘amber’ items under a transfer note.

After The Environment Agency decided to withdraw RPS 250 on the 1st September 2023, they outlined 10 waste wood items from pre-2007 buildings that have been designated as hazardous, unless they are analysed to prove their non-hazardous nature. Examples of these waste wood items include tiling cladding, barge boards, timber frames and external joinery.

Operators must carry out ‘pre-acceptance checks’ (at least quarterly), before storing or treating amber list items to ensure that the waste wood producer is testing regularly and has the Wood Recyclers Association (WRA) submission reports as evidence. A permit must be issued for them to store at a transfer station or treat waste wood. Also, they must have a permit to move amber items of waste wood in line with duty of care requirements for non-hazardous waste. If these conditions are met:

  • Amber items of waste wood can be stored as non-hazardous waste
  • Amber items of waste wood can be moved as non-hazardous waste under a transfer note
  • Amber items of waste wood with non-hazardous waste wood can be treated and mixed at a wood processing site, it can then move as non-hazardous waste wood under a transfer note

The amber items of wood should be directed to a compliant permitted incinerator or co-incinerator or be utilised for the manufacture of engineered or composite board.

To find hazardous levels, the WRA are carrying out continuous tests of amber list waste wood. The Environment Agency have stated the decision to withdraw the RPS on the 1st October 2024 and have said “it is important that producers of amber waste wood items support this programme of sampling and testing either directly or through their trade body.” The WRA will need to have sufficient test results to be presented as evidence to The Environment Agency before RPS 291 is withdrawn. If this is not achieved, then amber waste wood must be handled as hazardous waste wood when the RPS is removed; the WRA will need to have the sufficient test results by the 1st September 2024, which will be required to be presented to The Environment Agency[1].

The RPS can be amended or withdrawn before the withdrawal date by The Environment Agency if necessary. Hence why it is recommended to occasionally check back for any potential changes, to see whether RPS 291 still applies.

Activity must be stopped if you operate under this RPS but are unable to comply with it; The Environment Agency must be informed immediately[2].

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[1] Doherty, J. (2023). ROAR B2B Ltd. Agency softens hazardous wood stance with fresh RPS. [ONLINE] Available at:

[2] Environment Agency. (2023). Guidance: Storing and treating hazardous waste wood: RPS 291. [ONLINE] Available at:

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