The Environment Agency has published revised guidance on the use of manufactured soil in England, which is an activity that will require an environmental permit if you want to use manufactured topsoil because it is made from waste.
However, if you follow the conditions of the Regulatory Position Statement (RPS) then it will not be necessary to apply for an environmental permit to use up to 1,000 tonnes of manufactured topsoil. If it is not possible to comply with the conditions in the RPS but you want to use manufactured topsoil then it will become a compliance obligation to apply for an Environmental Permit.
The compliance obligations for RPS 190 are the following conditions:
- you keep a record of the amount of manufactured topsoil you receive
- you comply with the waste duty of care when storing, transferring and transporting manufactured topsoil
- the manufactured topsoil is used to establish a vegetative layer
- the place where the soil is used is not currently (or intended to be) used for agriculture
- the manufactured topsoil is produced in accordance with BS 3882:2015 at a suitably permitted site under SR2010 No11 or SR2010 No12 permit, or a suitable bespoke permit
- the manufactured topsoil has been produced from non-wastes (for example PAS 100 quality protocol compliant compost) or the following wastes only:
- 01 01 02 – chalk only (clean, naturally occurring stone materials)
- 01 04 08 – waste chalk other than those mentioned in 01 04 07 (clean, naturally occurring stone materials)
- 01 04 09 – waste sand and clays (clean, naturally occurring soil and mineral materials)
- 02 01 06 – horse manure only
- 02 01 99 – spent mushroom compost from the growing of mushrooms only
- 02 03 99 – soil from cleaning and washing fruit and vegetables only
- 02 04 01 – soil from cleaning and washing beet
- 17 05 04 – soil and stones including chalk from greenfield sites (clean, naturally occurring topsoil and subsoil)
- 20 02 02 – soil and stones (clean, naturally occurring topsoil and subsoil)
In addition, the manufactured topsoil must not be:
- used as a soil substitute for landscaping purposes
- used to treat agricultural land or land intended for agricultural use
- supplied for commercial horticultural or home garden use
- used at depths below 300mm
- stored or used in quantities over 1,000 tonnes in any 3 year period
- stored in any one place for more than 12 months before use
Your activity must not:
- cause a risk to water, air, soil, plants or animals
- cause a nuisance through noise or odours
- adversely affect the countryside or places of special interest
If you use more topsoil than is necessary, or the topsoil is not used to establish a vegetative layer, this is classed as waste disposal and this RPS does not apply.
As with all RPS, the Environment Agency will not normally take enforcement action against you provided:
- your activity meets the description set out in this RPS
- you comply with the conditions set out in this RPS
- your activity does not (and is not likely to) cause environmental pollution or harm human health
It should be noted that the former RPS 190 has been withdrawn at the same time as the publication of the revised edition. The previous RPS 190 can be found here.
A copy of the latest edition of RPS 190 can be freely downloaded from here.