SLfT3006 - Dredgings – material removed from water

SLfT guidance on the circumstances in which natural or artificial materials removed by dredging may be exempt from SLfT.

Natural or artificial materials removed from a river, canal or watercourse or from a dock or harbour by dredging in one of the circumstances listed below, and then disposed of to landfill as waste, are exempt from SLfT.

The circumstances under which dredging material qualifies for the exemption are where:

  • material is removed by dredging or otherwise and later disposed of to landfill, and that material formed part of the bed of the water or projected from the bed prior to removal (including the banks) and has been dredged from:
    • a river, canal, watercourse (see below), dock or harbour (whether natural or artificial); or
    • the approaches to a harbour and removed in the interests of navigation.

To qualify as a watercourse it must be possible to show that a body of water has a:

  • natural source of surface or underground water;
  • flow, under the action of gravity;
  • reasonably well-defined channel of bed and banks; and
  • meeting point with another watercourse or tidal waters;


  • naturally occurring material is extracted from the seabed as part of a commercial operation to obtain substances such as sand and gravel. Any naturally occurring substances which result from this operation that are then disposed of to landfill will qualify for the exemption.

The exemption only applies to the disposals of waste where we are satisfied that:

  • only material removed from the bed of the water (including the banks) is deposited; and
  • other material has been added to it in order to ensure that it is no longer liquid waste.

Liquid waste is:

  • any waste that immediately flows into a space made in its surface; or
  • any waste load containing more than 250 litres of free-draining liquid or 10% of the load volume, whichever is the lesser amount. 'Free draining' means a liquid as defined in the bullet point immediately above, whether or not it is in a container.

Any additive used must have dehydrating properties or bind the excess moisture content within the waste and, in either case, produce a material that is not liquid waste. Additives such as sand and sawdust absorb liquid temporarily but release it again as waste is compressed within the landfill. These additives are not acceptable for the purposes of the exemption.

The use of additives for this exemption does not absolve waste producers and landfill site operators from fulfilling their obligations incurred under environmental regulations. If you have any doubts about those obligations, you should seek advice from SEPA.

You do not need a certificate from us to apply this exemption but you should keep documents that show the source of the waste and, where relevant, the nature and effect of the treatment it has undergone. Tax will be payable on any waste where you cannot demonstrate that you met the requirements of the exemption.

If you fail to keep and preserve records in relation to this exemption as required (see SLfT8001) then you may be liable to a penalty (see RSTP3002).

LT(S)A 2014 section 7

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