The below is adapted from an article in Sustain Magazine on 13 March 2014. You can access the full article by clicking here.
Written by Tom Wells
Environmental Planning & Assessment
The Site Waste Management Plan Regulations 2008 (‘the Regulations’) were repealed in December 2013 in response to the Government’s Red Tape Challenge, designed to remove unnecessary legislation. This regulation was one of forty waste specific regulations that were subject to review and it was revoked on the conclusion that it would save construction companies £0.86m per year if Site Waste Management Plans (SWMPs) were not produced.
The original intention for the Regulations was twofold. Firstly, to improve the efficiency and profitability of projects by promoting the reuse, recycling and recovery of waste, rather than its disposal and, secondly, to reduce the potential for fly-tipping and illegal disposal of construction waste by keeping a full audit trail of waste removed from the site.
Whilst critics would argue that the repeal is a step in the wrong direction, and point to the fact that Wales is looking at bringing in requirements for SWMPs, it seems that there was little need for requiring developers to produce SWMPs under Regulations. After all, resource efficiency is also encouraged through landfill taxes and Duty of Care.
Landfill taxes encourage reuse and recycling by making it more costly to dispose of material at landfill. Duty of Care requires businesses that deal with the movement of waste to store it safely and ensure that it is then transported by a licensed waste carrier, who in turn ensures disposal at a suitably licensed facility.
Furthermore, many construction companies are measuring their waste management to support their own CSR and KPIs. Cognisance also has to be made to construction projects that are subject to third party accreditation, e.g. SKA, LEED, BREEAM, where the implementation of site waste management with stringent targets is set by the developer.
There are certainly some “interesting” inclusions in the Red Tape Challenge – and many examples where Regulations are required to transpose EU legislation, and cannot therefore be simply cut – but arguably the repeal of SWMPs is an example of a success story.