“…the most comprehensive industry-wide guidance for the environmental assessment of impacts and effects from materials consumption and waste disposal. The culmination of over two years’ work and extensive engagement, the document offers practitioners across the built environment a clear platform from which to achieve consistent and proportionate assessment outcomes. The document also sets out processes that will encourage those involved in environmental assessment to more effectively champion sustainable resource management and circular economy action.”

In these unequivocally uncertain times, I’m sure the importance of positive messaging and clear direction has resonated with us all. Equally, the need to persevere and work in unison has never been more apparent to our generation – both in a personal and professional capacity.

Though the production of industry guidance cannot (and should not!) be compared to the Herculean efforts of those in the health, emergency and other core services who are helping us navigate these murky waters, I’m sure you’ll agree that forward-looking and pragmatic approaches that support those working in the built environment are – at the very least! – a welcome break in the news.

As many of you will appreciate, IEMA continues to support its membership though encouraging and instructive messaging. It remains committed to engaging with the industry through the Transform magazine, regular emails on tools and resources, and the broad range of webinars it hosts.

And the ‘IEMA Guide to: Materials & Waste in EIA’ webinar on 19 March 2020 was no exception: over 600 registrations were logged, and nearly 300 attendees listened in on the day. ,Overall, the content of the guidance presented by the project team was well received, and a host of supporting questions were responded to by the authors of the document.

Implied keenly by the interest generated by the webinar, practitioners within the fields of circular economy, sustainable resource management, and – more specifically – environmental assessment, understand the complexities of ‘materials and waste’ as a subject. The need for an industry-wide approach to the assessment of materials and waste in EIA has for some time, therefore, been (and I don’t use the word lightly) significant. The comments provided during industry consultation on the developing guidance further ratified this need, as did the feedback received in October 2018, when WSP’s Jenny Warhurst presented on the subject at UK Construction Week.

Responding to the complexities of this subject in a single document that adequately covers the scale and breadth of all possible developments in the UK, is testament to the commitment of the authors to this project. We’re now at the point where the authors are very happy (and rightly proud) of the content, and IEMA and its production teams have worked to bring the information and data together in a clear and engaging online publication.

Our ultimate ambition for the guidance is to provide a one-stop-shop for the environmental assessment of materials and waste on UK developments, and to provide a bank of contextual and definitional information around the subject. We encourage all practitioners to dive into the document, work with clients to apply it with vigour, and to report back to IEMA the successes you’ve had.

As stated in the guidance, we’re also very keen to evolve the content over time – perhaps to include a more detailed approach to the assessment of developments’ end-of-life phase; perhaps to specify the content for international applications … we’d welcome your feedback on other areas for future advancement, of course.

And for those that missed the webinar, IEMA and the guidance authors summarised Materials & Waste in EIA as follows. We hope you find this synopsis as accurate and filled with exciting potential as we do.

Photo of Tim Danson WSP
Tim Danson

Tim Danson, Associate, Sustainability at WSP and Member of the IEMA Circular Economy Network Steering Group. Tim has nearly 20 years experience in a wide range of sustainability and environmental projects. His specialisms centre around sustainable development, with a focus on the management of key individuals and multidisciplinary teams delivering the design and construction of infrastructure and public buildings. Tim is particularly experienced in developing and implementing sustainability strategies, circular economy, sustainable resource management outcomes, and bespoke sustainability diagnostics / toolkits.