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Low Risk Waste Position on the use of waste derived gypsum

The EA have published a low risk waste position on spreading gypsum on agricultural land to add nutrients and confer benefit. This will be published on the .gov.uk website in due course but please click HERE to see the details. 


Background:
In 2008 a Quality Protocol for the use of gypsum from waste plasterboard was published. This QP permitted the use of recycled gypsum from waste plasterboard in agriculture, among other uses. Subsequent review work identified issues such that, a revised version of the QP published in November 2013 excluded agriculture from the list of permitted uses. With the removal of agricultural use from the Quality Protocol, recycled gypsum from waste plasterboard spread on agricultural land is subject to waste controls. It may be spread on agricultural land to confer benefit under Standard Rules Permit SR2010 No. 4 (Mobile plant for landspreading) but is not included in the list of wastes covered by exemption U10 (Spreading waste on agricultural land to confer benefit).

In advance of any national review of the current U10 exemption, it is proposed to release a Low Risk Waste Position. This will enable recycled gypsum from waste plasterboard (waste code 19 12 12) and FGD gypsum (waste code 10 01 05) to be spread on agricultural land as a substitute fertiliser.  Details appear in the position but, in summary:
  • Rates must be no greater than 1 tonne per hectare in any 12 month period
  • The material must only be spread where there is a fertiliser need
  • It must not be spread within 50m of a potable water borehole or 10m of surface water
  • The Code of Good Agricultural Practice must be followed
  • To address the issue of variability and potential physical contamination the reprocessed gypsum from plasterboard should be certified. The most commonly used specification for the production of reprocessed gypsum from waste plasterboard is PAS 109:2013.

This Low Risk Position is intended for the low volume use of waste gypsum as a substitute agricultural fertiliser, and not for the typically higher volume use as a conditioner to improve soil structure. This higher volume use can still be undertaken under Standard Rules Permit SR2010 No. 4 (Mobile plant for landspreading).

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