Site waste plans scrapped from 1 December

10th September 2013

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  • Pollution & Waste Management



Legislation requiring large construction projects to formally set out how they will deal with waste is to be repealed despite half of the responses to a Defra consultation being against the proposals

The environment department has confirmed that from 1 December the Site Waste Management Plans Regulations (2008) will be scrapped in line with the government’s drive to cut “red tape”.

Under the Regulations, construction or demolition projects worth £300,000 or more must complete a site waste management plan (SWMP) detailing how waste will be managed at all stages of the project. The aim was to encourage firms to minimise waste and boost levels of reuse, reclamation and recycling.

The announcement of the repeal came in the government’s formal response to a consultation that closed on 18 July. The 169 consultation responses were equally split for and against the repeal of the Regulations – 49% each, with 2% of responses “neutral”.

Of the 70 contractors that responded, 41 were in favour of the scrapping of the legislation, while 29 were against. Meanwhile, more private businesses from the construction sector, developers and local authorities were against scrapping the rules than were in favour of them being repealed.

According to Defra’s calculations, repealing the legislation will save the construction sector a total of £3.9 million a year. However, the impact assessment calculation was based on the administrative savings from not completing a plan, and more than two-thirds of respondents to the consultation confirmed that they would continue to use SWMPs even if they were no longer mandatory.

In light of such feedback, Defra’s concludes that scrapping the Regulations will have a minimal impact on the construction sector’s efforts to cut waste.

“Repealing the Regulations will provide a cost saving to business, while giving the option of retaining SWMP as a tool that can be applied to any project to help identify savings,” states its consultation response.

Defra’s proposal to scrap the Regulations was first announced in March 2012, following the completion of the government’s red tape challenge review of environmental regulation.

The department stated that the legislation was “ineffective”, but critics of the move, including the UK Environmental Law Association, argued that Defra should consider how enforcement could be improved rather than repealing the Regulations.


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