Van and trailer permits

How to apply for or renew a free permit to use a van or trailer at waste recycling centres.

recycling centre signage

Permits no longer have an expiry date, so if you don't use all the visits up in the 12 months they will still be valid and you may continue to use your permit until the visits run out.

If you use a commercial-type vehicle that weighs under 3.5 tonnes laden, such as a van, pick-up or a trailer with a load bed of 1.8m to 3m (6 to 10 ft) in length, to take your household waste or recyclables to Oxfordshire's Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs), you need to apply for a free permit.

Please note that if you visit a HWRC in a commercial-type vehicle without a permit, you will be turned away from site.

Vans hired for three days or less do not need a permit: just take the hire papers and proof of residence in Oxfordshire to the Waste Recycling Centre. Box vans or those weighing more than 3.5 tonnes laden cannot be used.

The van and trailer permit was introduced to make sure that only household waste is deposited at HWRCs, and to stop traders using them to illegally dispose of trade waste.

View the full van and trailer permit policy (pdf format, 205 KB)

Who needs a permit

You only need a permit if you are intending to use a commercial-type vehicle under 3.5 tonnes when laden, or a trailer between 1.8m and 3m (6 to 10 ft) in length (i.e. bed length) to enter a HWRC. Permits will only be issued to householders intending to deposit their household waste. Please see the table below to see if you will need a permit for your vehicle:

Type of vehicle Permit required?
I have a car, 4x4 or people carrier No
I have a 4x4 with an open back or separate cab Yes
I use a van or commercial-type vehicle (under 3.5 tonnes *) Yes
I use a van or commercial-type vehicle (over 3.5 tonnes) Vehicles of this size are not allowed on site.
I use a box van Vehicles of this size are not allowed on site.
I have a trailer bed under 1.8m (6 feet) long ** No
I have a trailer bed or horsebox between 1.8m (6 ft) and 3m (10 ft) long ** Yes
I have a trailer bed over 3m long ** Vehicles of this size are not allowed on site.
I have a two-horse trailer up to 3m in length ** Yes

* Vehicles larger or longer than a long wheel based transit van will not be allowed to enter sites
** Trailers are measured on the length of the load bed only

Commercial-type vehicles are any vans or towed trailers that are designed to carry goods, not people. This includes vehicles with any of the following:

  • no rear windows (this means rear windows which are side-facing)
  • no rear seats
  • an open back
  • a back which is separate to the main cab area.

Householders who qualify can apply for a free permit allowing up to 12 individual visits to the HWRC network in one calendar year. If you are unsure whether or not you need a permit, please contact the Waste Management Group on 08450 504550 or email

How to apply

You can apply or renew online, or we can email or post a form to you on request. Please contact the Waste Management Group on 08450 504550 or email

Frequently asked questions

What is trade waste and how can I dispose of it?

Trade waste is defined as waste arising from any trade or business, industrial or commercial activities. Anyone who has received any payment for carrying waste or produces waste from this work cannot take this waste to a HWRC. Traders have a Duty of Care to dispose of their trade waste correctly. Our commercial waste pages contain information on reducing, reusing and recycling your trade waste.

Will I need a permit for my vehicle?

See the table above. If you are still unsure if you need a permit or not, please contact us on 08450 504550 or email

How much does a permit cost?

Nothing - permits are free to householders.

How many times does a permit allow me to visit a recycling centre?

Householders who qualify will receive one permit, which allows twelve individual visits to the HWRC network.

Once twelve visits have been made, the site staff will retain the permit and  householders can apply to renew their permit. Householders can apply for another permit after twelve months if they require a new one (i.e. the previous one has been used up).

There are no expiry dates on permits.

Permits issued before 1 November 2011 are valid for two years from the date of issue, and permits issued after this do not have an expiry date, so if you have not used all twelve visits after the first year you do not need to reapply unless your details have changed.

How do I apply for a permit?

You can submit your application using this online form, or we can email or post a form to you on request. Please contact the Waste Management Group on 08450 504550 or email

How do I renew my permit?

If you have used all twelve visits on your current permit, you can renew your permit after twelve months. However, you should use all twelve visits before you apply for renewal.

You can renew your permit online. You will be required to enter your current permit number and the surname with which you made your application.

  • If your permit details remain the same (address and vehicle registration number) you will just need to provide your current permit number and surname and we will post you out another permit.
  • If your address or vehicle details have changed you can also renew online, but you will need to complete the full application form as you did for your current permit.

If you are unable to renew online, you can also renew your permit by calling the Waste Management Group on 08450 504550.

How many permits will I be given?

A household may hold only one permit at a time. It is not permissible to apply for a permit for multiple commercial-type vehicles or for both a commercial-type vehicle and a trailer, or for vehicles/ trailers to be registered to multiple addresses.

Can I get more than the specified number of permits per year?

The calculation of twelve visits per year is based on the average user's frequency of visits and the quantity of waste that can be deposited using a permitted vehicle. Clearly some householders will have a need to visit more often than this (e.g. if they have a large garden), so in special circumstances, additional permits may be granted.

Requests for additional permits should be made in writing to: Waste Management Group, Oxfordshire County Council, Speedwell House, Speedwell Street, Oxford, OX1 1NE or by email:

Can I get a permit from site staff at a Household Waste Recycling Centre?

No, you must apply by using the online form or by sending in an application form. The application form can be obtained either by phoning 08450 504550 or by emailing

Does a permit mean I can bring any waste to a site?

No. Permits allow householders entry to the sites only. Waste deposited must be in accordance with the Waste Acceptance Policy. HWRCs are strictly for household waste and recyclables only, and trade waste is not permitted

Depending on the frequency of visits and type of waste being deposited, permit holders and car users may still be asked to fill in a Disclaimer Form to confirm that the waste is from their own household. This is not intended to inconvenience site users but to improve the HWRC service for genuine householders. Using Disclaimer Forms prevents traders attempting to abuse the system by entering the sites in domestic vehicles, i.e. cars.

Will the permits be valid for a single site, or all HWRCs in Oxfordshire?

Permits are valid for any HWRC in Oxfordshire.

If I visit a site twice on the same day, is it classified as one visit?

If you visit the HWRC network more than once in one day, each visit will be counted separately and your permit will be marked accordingly.

I do not live in Oxfordshire can I obtain a permit?

No, permits will only be issued to Oxfordshire residents, with a valid household address.

How long will the permits be valid for?

Permits no longer have an expiry date so if after one year you have used fewer than 12 visits, your permit will still be valid and you will not need to renew.

What happens if a number of people in my household use the vehicle, does the permit still apply?

If you own the vehicle to which a permit is assigned, any member of your household or another driver you designate can use the permit to visit the site in that vehicle to dispose of household waste, but this will count as one of the twelve allocated visits on the permit.

What should I do if I want to hire a van to take household waste to a HWRC?

Vans hired by a householder to deposit household waste, for a period of three days or less, are allowed to enter the HWRC without a permit. The householder will be required to bring the hire purchase agreement with them and present it to site staff upon arrival. The restrictions on the vehicle sizes and weight still apply to gain entry to the site.

For vehicle hire periods over three days, the vehicle will not be allowed to enter the HWRCs. However, in circumstances where the origin of waste is proven to be genuine household waste, a bespoke permit can be issued, to allow temporary access.

If a commercial type vehicle or trailer is borrowed from a friend, family member of neighbour a permit is still required.

I have a vehicle which doesn’t require a permit but is used for trade purposes and is sign written – can I take this to a HWRC in order to dispose of household waste?

Yes, however, you may be asked to fill in a trade waste Disclaimer Form if the waste type is associated with the advertised activity, or signage indicates it is a vehicle used for commercial purposes.

Can I take my waste to a HWRC in a taxi?

Taxis are able to access HWRCs without a permit, as long as they have the person who produced the waste (the householder who is paying the fare) in the vehicle with them. If they do not have the waste producer with them, they will be turned way.

If the taxi has waste from their own house, (and therefore the taxi driver is the one who has produced the waste, and they are not carrying a passenger) then they will need to complete a Trade Waste Disclaimer on each visit.

Larger taxis that have been adapted for disabled use are still designed to carry people rather than goods. They do not need an exemption letter to enter site, but need to follow the above guidelines depending on if they have the waste producer with them.

Does it matter what sort of vehicle I tow my trailer with?

Yes. Trailers will only be allowed access to a HWRC if they are towed by a car or enclosed 4x4. Trailers will not be permitted entry if towed by a commercial-type vehicle or a van. Trailers longer than 3m will not be allowed access under any circumstances.

My horsebox / van / trailer has a ramp, can this be used on site?

Due to health and safety regulations, the use of vehicle or trailer ramps is banned on site. Any vehicles which fall within the size restrictions can use the site with a permit, but cannot use any form of ramp which obstructs the walkways whilst on site. If you have a horsebox we ask that waste be removed by the side entrance.

Owners of specially adapted vehicles with ramps for disabled use should contact the Waste Management Group on 08450 504550.

My van / trailer has a mechanical tail lift / tipping mechanism, can this be used on site?

Due to health and safety regulations, the use of tipping mechanisms and tail lifts are banned on site. Any vehicles which fall within the size restrictions, can use the site with a permit, but cannot operate any mechanical function whilst on site.

Owners of specially adapted vehicles with mechanisms for disabled use should contact us on 08450 504550.

Where is my nearest Recycling Centre?

What happens if I buy a new van or a new vehicle to tow my trailer?

If the vehicle type or registration number changes on the van or trailer, the householder will need to post back the original permit, along with the details of the new van or trailer including the registration number. A new permit will be issued which will allow the householder to continue to use the HWRC, providing the new vehicle falls within size requirements. The new permit will allow the householder to use the HWRC for the number of visits remaining on their previous permit for that year.

What happens if I change my vehicle?

Please contact us on 08450 504550 to update your vehicle details with us. We will send you a new permit in the post. Please note that you do not need to submit a permit renewal request.

What happens if I have a permit and then move house?

If you move house, it is your responsibility to inform the Waste Management Group. You will need to post back the original permit, along with the details of your new postal address in Oxfordshire. A new permit will be issued which will allow you to continue to use the HWRCs. The new permit will allow you to use the HWRCs for the number of visits remaining on your previous permit for that year.

If a new permit is requested for an address that has previously been issued with a permit, and the applicant states they are a new occupant, a cross reference check will be done to ensure that the householder or vehicle has not already been issued with a permit. They will be issued with a permit, as it is unfair to penalise someone for moving to a premises which previously had a permit. The previous permit registered against that address will be marked on the database to ensure no more are issued, until that householder updates their details.

I live on a Ministry of Defence (MOD) base, do I need a permit?

Householders living on a MOD basis or property are required to acquire a permit if they own a commercial type vehicle and wish to visit the HWRCs.

However, where the MOD personnel have access to communal commercial type vehicles on the MOD base, the council will issue the vehicle with a permit, and they will be requested to ensure the permit stays with the vehicle for each driver to use. Additional permits will be granted as required.
In circumstances such as soldiers being sent away on short notice, the council will accommodate this as far as possible and authorise time limited access to a HWRC.

The waste from the actual MOD buildings and sites is not accepted at the HWRCs. The council has a commercial waste reduction officer who is available to provide further information to the MOD on correct and proper waste disposal.

The council will work with the MOD liaison officer to ensure bases are aware of the scheme in advance and the policy for acquiring permits.

What happens if I don't have, or choose not to use my kerbside collection provided by the Waste Collection Authority (WCA)?

Householders would need to provide details of their opt-out from the kerbside services. Oxfordshire County Council would contact the relevant WCA for confirmation. Oxfordshire County Council upon receipt of satisfactory evidence would provide the equivalent number of visits to the householder, as they would have received kerbside collections, which for all areas would be once a fortnight or 26 visits.

Householders would still be required to complete a permit application and to declare it is only household waste. Oxfordshire County Council would reserve the right to revoke the permit if it was proven that commercial waste was being deposited.

I don’t own a car or vehicle eligible for a permit - how can I dispose of my household waste?

Please contact the Waste Management Group on 08450 504550.

Are tractors and quad bikes allowed onto site? Do they need a permit? Are they allowed to tow trailers?

Any vehicle under 3.5 tonnes laden weight can enter the HWRCs, however, there is a secondary operational consideration, as to how vehicles can safely navigate the HWRC.

Tractors in themselves can not carry much waste and the assumption is made that they would need to tow a trailer. Tractors are commercial vehicles and therefore they would not be able to tow a trailer onto the site.

The size of tractors is prohibitive to allow safe movement and parking on the HWRCs, especially on smaller sites, therefore, tractors are not permitted onto the HWRCs in Oxfordshire. Oxfordshire County Council would consider in cases where the tractor is exceptionally small to make a concession and it would remain the responsibility of the householder to contact us in advance, but no towing with a tractor would be permitted.

Quad bikes are allowed onto the HWRC and do not require a permit. They can tow using a trailer permit within the bed length limit.

Won't introducing the van and trailer permits lead people to fly-tip more - a worse scenario than dumping illegally at our sites?

Traders who deposit their waste at HWRCs are acting just as illegally as those who fly-tip their waste. By getting rid of their waste at no cost to themselves, they can undercut businesses who pay to dispose of their waste legitimately. When the County Council has to pay to dispose of the waste the traders deposit at HWRCs it is the tax payer who is in effect paying these business’s waste disposal costs, just as much as if they chose to fly-tip it.

We recognise that some businesses may not know how to best dispose of their waste or be aware of their Duty of Care, so we have prepared a leaflet which will be regularly updated which lists places where traders can deposit their waste legitimately. These will be available to traders from August onwards. Evidence from other counties who have introduced similar schemes show they have not suffered from an increase in fly-tipping and the county and district councils will be working closely in partnership to try to ensure that fly-tipping does not increase and actively pursuing prosecutions for those people who do persist in carrying out this anti-social behaviour.

Working together as Oxfordshire Waste Partnership, an anti-fly-tipping awareness campaign is currently running, promoting the hard line that will be taken with fly-tippers and also provide householders with information to check that any trader they get to do work for them is a properly registered waste carrier. A similar campaign the year before led to significant reductions in levels of fly-tipping across the county.

Why can't trade waste be taken to Household HWRCs?

HWRCs are not licensed to accept business waste. Traders who deposit waste at the HWRCs are gaining a competitive advantage over businesses who legitimately deposit their waste.

The scheme will also reduce congestion and improve queue times at the HWRCs, as well as reducing the health and safety risks associated with large vehicles manoeuvring on site, thereby making the HWRCs safer for all users.

Last reviewed
02 April 2014
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