RPS 211: Excavated waste from utilities installation and repair

The Environment Agency for England has issued a new regulatory position statement (RPS 211), which applies to businesses who deal with excavated waste from unplanned utilities installation and repair works.

It applies to businesses who: produce, transport, keep, process, control – if you are a dealer or broker, use or dispose of this type of waste.

It allows excavated waste which has not been assessed and classified in line with the hazardous waste technical guidance to be classified as non-hazardous waste.

Specifically the excavated wastes covered by this RPS are:

  1. those generated by a utilities company working with Street Works UK on a sampling and assessment protocol
  2. those generated from unplanned utilities installation and repair work
  3. wastes that, if non-hazardous, would be classified under the European Waste Catalogue (EWC) codes:
    17 01 01 concrete
    17 01 02 bricks
    17 01 03 tiles and ceramics
    17 01 07 non-hazardous mixtures of concrete, bricks, tiles and ceramics
    17 03 02 non-hazardous bituminous mixtures
    17 05 04 soil and stones
    17 09 04 non-hazardous mixed construction and demolition wastes
  4. wastes that would not be classified as hazardous under the producer’s company procedures
  5. wastes that are not known or reasonably suspected to be hazardous, for any reason including, but not limited to:
    – visible and olfactory presence of hydrocarbons and other chemicals
    – waste containing visible pieces of asbestos-containing material
    – asphalt (tarmac) road surfaces likely to contain coal tar (for example, those laid in the 1980s or before)
    – waste arising from excavations on contaminated sites subject to previous site investigations identifying hazardous waste.

If you follow the conditions in this RPS, you do not need to apply a hazardous waste classification for excavated wastes covered by this RPS.

If you cannot comply with the conditions in this RPS, you must assess and classify all excavated waste in line with the hazardous waste technical guidance.

RPS 211 Conditions
In order to meet these conditions to follow this RPS, the following must be met:

  1. send the waste to a permitted site
  2. describe the excavated waste on any transfer note as ‘not assessed and classified in reliance of RPS 211’

However, you must not:

  1. generate more than 10 cubic metres of waste at the excavation site
  2. treat or use the waste under an exemption

As always, you must make sure your activities do not endanger human health or the environment and specifically:

– 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

An RPS means that the Environment Agency will not normally take enforcement action against you provided:

  1. your activity meets the description set out in this RPS
  2. you comply with the conditions set out in this RPS
  3. your activity does not (and is not likely to) cause environmental pollution or harm human health

Time Expiry of RPS
The withdrawal deadline for this RPS has been set for 31 January 2019 to allow for the utilities industry to:

  1. Deliver an Environment Agency approved protocol for the classification and assessment of excavated utilities wastes
  2. implement compliance with the legal requirement to correctly classify and assess this waste.

After 31 January 2019, all unassessed waste from utilities excavations must be classified as hazardous. This includes any waste that has entered the waste management system and/or has been stockpiled under this RPS.

A copy of the Environment Agency’s Regulatory Position Statement 211 is freely available here


  1. Review your current activities as a business dealing with excavated waste from unplanned utilities installation and repair works. to understand whether the Environment Agency’s RPS 211 applies to your organisation and activities as a compliance obligation.
  2. If RPS 211 applies to your activities for the removal of excavated waste from unplanned utilities installation and repair works follow the conditions of the RPS.
  3. Check back for any revised guidance with the Environment Agency no later than 31 January 2019.
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