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Oxfordshire County Council’s van and trailer permit scheme policy

Our policy for household waste and recycling centre (HWRC) van and trailer permits.

1. Permits

Householders who use a commercial-type vehicle or trailer of a specific bed length to dispose of their household waste will need to apply for a free permit to enter a household waste recycling centre (HWRC).

Each permit allows 12 visits in total per year. No increase in the number of visits will occur before the 12-month period has ended unless exceptional circumstances apply. A householder can choose when to use the visits, for example, all in one month or spread over the year.

A permit will automatically be renewed on its ‘anniversary date’ with the visits reset to 12 regardless of how many had been used. This is to remove both the administrative burden at the end of the 12 months and the need for permit holders to renew. Permits do not expire unless they have not been used for 24 months.

The permit applies to vehicle or trailer access to the HWRC and not the type of waste being carried. Therefore, site staff have the right to turn away a vehicle if it is suspected of carrying commercial waste or to ask for a trade waste disclaimer form to be completed.

The permit is for vehicular access to the HWRC and not the type of waste being carried. Therefore, site staff still have the right to turn away a vehicle if it is suspected it is carrying commercial waste, or to ask for a waste disclaimer form to be completed.

Householders will provide the following information on the permit application form.

  • Household address
  • Full name (this does not have to be the driver of the vehicle)
  • Vehicle registration

Only one permit will be approved per address. If a household has more than one commercial-type vehicle they will have to decide which vehicle is most suitable for their use. There is no distinction made between which householder drives the vehicle. Commercial-type vehicles cannot be used to tow a trailer of any length.

1.2 Terms and conditions

Customers are required to understand, accept and comply with the terms and conditions of the scheme at all times.

1.3 Vehicle size restrictions

The HWRCs have vehicle size restrictions in place due to manoeuvrability and health and safety considerations. Please note that we are unable to list each type of vehicle that is required to register for a permit or is able to use the sites. Users of modified or bespoke vehicles, or where it is not clear if a permit is needed or not, should contact us to seek clarification.

1.4 Hired commercial-type vehicle or trailers

Commercial-type vehicles or trailers, hired by a householder to deposit household waste, for a period of three days or less are permitted to enter the HWRC without a permit. The householder will be required to bring the hire purchase agreement and proof of address such as a current utility bill with them and present them to site staff upon arrival. The restrictions on the vehicle sizes, weight, trailer length and operating of mechanical functions’ still apply.

For vehicle or trailer 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, the customer should contact the council to arrange temporary access. The customer will be requested to complete a waste disclaimer form on arrival.

1.5 Towing a trailer with a commercial-type vehicle

No trailers (regardless of size) are allowed to be towed onto a household waste site using a commercial-type vehicle.

Certain commercial-type vehicles are available in different models which may be the same size as a commercial-type vehicle as defined within the policy, but would not require a permit under the conditions of the scheme. For example, they will have rear seats or windows (unlike a commercial-type vehicle that would require a permit). Due to health and safety considerations with regard to manoeuvrability, these vehicles may not be able to tow a trailer safely. This will be assessed on a case by case basis and householders will be contacted after applying for a permit.

1.6 Vehicles that will not require a permit

The scheme will not affect the majority of site users including customers driving the following vehicles.

  • Cars
  • 4X4’s (excluding pick-up trucks and certain types of 4x4’s, see definition below of a commercial-type vehicle)
  • People carriers (unless seats are removed)
  • Minibuses under 3.5 tonnes laden and no longer than 5.8 metres (19 feet) - unless seats are removed, may be asked to complete a disclaimer. (Note: minibuses are not allowed to tow trailers onto the HWRC sites)
  • Specially adapted vehicles for disabled users – a dispensation letter can be provided by Oxfordshire County Council when requested by a householder
  • Camper vans (if fixtures have been removed it will require a permit) – only camper vans up to the size of a transit van will be allowed on site (Note: camper vans are not allowed to tow trailers onto the HWRC sites)
  • Bicycles and quad bikes
  • Hired commercial-type vehicles or trailers (hired for less than three days).

1.7 Vehicles that will require a permit

Commercial-type vehicles that require a permit are any vehicles 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.
  • If a vehicle has a purpose other than carrying passengers, it will need a permit. DVLA check will ordinarily confirm this N1 classification

Any vehicle that falls within the size requirements stated below.

  • No larger or longer than a long-wheelbase transit van
  • Weighing 3.5 tonnes or less when fully laden
  • 4x4 pick-up trucks.

1.8 Vehicles that are banned from using any HWRC site

  • Vehicles over 3.5 tonnes when fully laden (including minibuses).
  • Commercial-type vehicles towing trailers.
  • Box and Luton vans.
  • Camper vans larger or longer than a long wheeled based transit van.
  • Vehicles with tipping mechanisms and ramps. The use of tipping mechanisms and ramps are not allowed on site. Any vehicle that falls within the size restrictions above can use the site with a permit, but cannot operate any mechanical function whilst on site, whether this is tipping or a tail lift mechanism or ramp.
  • Tractors (there may be some concessions for those that are very small).

1.9 Horseboxes and trailers (including hired trailers)

Householders who use horseboxes or trailers over 1.8 metres (6 feet) in length but less than 3 metres (10 feet) will be encouraged to visit the HWRCs during quieter periods. These are publicised on the council’s websites and promoted during interaction with customers over the telephone, email and in-person at HWRCs.

Ramps cannot be used; waste should be unloaded via the side door.

The rules on towing with a commercial-type vehicle are unaffected by this change. The purpose of this condition is to cater for households with one or more vehicles that can tow the same trailer.

Trailer bed size at HWRC
Trailer bed length Notes
1.8 metres (6 feet) or less No permit
1.8 metres (6 feet) to 3 metres (10 feet) Permit
Over 3 metres (10 feet) Not allowed at HWRC

1.10 The admittance of minibuses and camper vans to the HWRCs

Only minibuses and camper vans under 3.5 tonnes laden and no longer than 5.8 metres (19 feet) in length are allowed on to site and will not require a permit. However, if seats are removed a permit will be required, you may also be asked to complete a domestic waste disclaimer form

Minibuses and camper vans are not allowed to tow trailers onto the HWRC sites.

We do not classify a people carrier as a minibus.however if seats are removed a permit will be required

1.11 Non-Oxfordshire residents

Permits will only be granted to Oxfordshire residential households. Special dispensation may be granted if you are assisting an Oxfordshire resident - you can apply for a permit but must provide the resident's address

1.12 Disclaimer forms

Disclaimer forms will continue to be used where the site staff cannot distinguish whether the waste is the result of commercial or domestic activity.
Records will be maintained and will continue to be shared with the city and district councils in case any enforcement action is required.

1.13 Excess garden waste

It is acknowledged by the council that some properties in Oxfordshire have large gardens.

The council strongly advocates home composting and promotes the use of district council kerbside garden waste collections.

In exceptional circumstances, where there is a proven need for additional visits to dispose of garden waste, an additional six visits will be granted for garden waste only. This would allow up to once a fortnight visit during the peak gardening season. Residents should contact us to arrange these additional visits.

1.14 Site rules

Householders will be asked to comply with the site rules and the Waste Acceptance Policy for the HWRCs in Oxfordshire. A copy of the current policy is available on our visiting recycling centres page.

1.15 Householders who arrive at site in a commercial-type vehicle or towing a trailer without having applied for a permit

A common sense approach will be taken. Householders without a permit registered for their commercial-type vehicle or their trailer who didn’t know about the scheme may be granted a grace visit. Site staff will record the registration number, request that the householder complete a domestic waste disclaimer form and advise the householder to apply for a permit.

A vehicle will only be allowed one grace visit.

1.16 Householders who do not have, or choose not to use their kerbside collection provided by the waste collection authority (WCA)

Householders would need to provide details of their opt-out from the kerbside collection services. The council would contact the relevant district council for confirmation. Upon receipt of satisfactory evidence, the council will provide
the equivalent number of visits to the householder as they would have received via a kerbside collection, which for all areas within Oxfordshire would be equivalent to once a fortnight or 26 visits in any 12-month period.

Householders would still be required to complete a permit application and to declare it is solely for the disposal of their household waste. The council would reserve the right to revoke the permit if it was proven that commercial waste was being deposited

1.17 Tractors and quad bikes

The typical size of a tractor does not allow for its safe movement and parking on the HWRCs, especially on smaller sites and it is not reasonably practicable to run the scheme by exception. Therefore tractors are not permitted onto the HWRCs in Oxfordshire. The council would consider making a concession in cases where the tractor is exceptionally small and is the householder’s only vehicle and it would remain the responsibility of the householder to contact us in advance.

A tractor would not be allowed to tow a trailer.

Quad bikes are allowed onto the HWRC. They can tow a trailer but the same rules governing the use of trailers apply.

1.18 Procedure for Ministry of Defence (MOD) bases and property

Householders living on a MOD base or property are required to apply for a permit if they own a commercial-type vehicle or a trailer with a bed length between 1.8m - 3m (6ft - 10ft) and wish to visit the HWRCs.

In circumstances such as service personnel being sent away on duty on short notice, the council will accommodate this as far as possible and authorise time limited access to an HWRC. Customers should contact us in order to arrange this.

1.19 Procedure for taxis

Waste legislation states that as a waste producer you have a duty of care to pass your waste to a suitably licensed carrier, or take it to a permitted site.

Therefore, when householders have waste to take to an HWRC they are classed as waste producers and can hire a taxi to take them and their waste to an HWRC. The waste producer then passes the waste to a suitable permitted facility (the HWRC).

Householders cannot pass waste to a taxi driver to take to any site (including HWRCs) without travelling in the taxi with the waste themselves. The taxi is not a licensed waste carrier and therefore cannot legitimately be passed the waste by the householder.

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 away.

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 disclaimer form on each visit.

Larger taxis that have been adapted for disabled use are designed to carry people rather than goods and are not classed by the council under this scheme as commercial-type vehicles. 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.

2.1 Administration

The scheme is administered by the council.

Permit details will be emailed to householders once their application via the online form has been received and approved.

Further update emails will be sent notifying permit holders of certain information such as the remaining number of visits.

Paper permits will not be issued.

2.2 Monitoring

Monitoring to prevent prohibited applications and use of permits will take place:

  • via the completed application form (by administration staff at the council)
  • by the site staff, (by accessing the permit system using a handheld electronic device).

The handheld device and associated permit system serve several purposes.

  • To record a visit made by a householder. Information will be kept by the council for monitoring purposes.
  • To check and inform the customer as to the number of visits made.
  • To cross check via the disclaimer forms.
  • To record any disputes or dispensations over the 12-month period.

Upon arrival at the site, the permit number (if the permit holder has this) or vehicle registration will be entered into the handheld device, recording the visit electronically.