Building industry welcomes compulsory waste plans

Forcing companies involved in all but the smallest construction projects to draw up a binding plan outlining the sustainable disposal of waste would create a level playing field for the industry while helping the environment, according to a leading trade body.

Responding to the Government’s consultation on Site Waste Management Plans (SWMP) the Chartered Institute of Building has called for all projects involving more than 500 man days, or 30 days total, of construction to be obliged to have such a plan.

This would force construction companies to look at material efficiency while reducing waste crime, argues the institute.

Michael Brown CIOB deputy chief executive said: “As an industry we can’t just rely on construction companies with an ethical approach to the environment to take up the slack for those that show little concern for the use and misuse of our resources.

“We need a change of behaviour that requires everyone to reduce waste. Without the appropriate regulation and teeth we fear that SWMPs will only be used by larger operators who have an interest in environmental issues.

“We would like to see a greater emphasis from government on the use of sustainable materials, equipment and techniques. All construction projects should be designed and built to be environmentally efficient with a measurable reduction, and recycling, of construction waste.

“If SWMPs are made mandatory they may result in some additional cost, but given a level playing field this should not affect the competitiveness of the company. There will be opportunities for cost savings in terms of recycling and reuse that would help offset any costs incurred.”

According to Government figures, the construction industry creates over 100 million tonnes of waste each year.

The CIOB has also called for the government to consider incentive based schemes that encourage the industry to reduce waste, along with inspection and enforcement tied in with existing regulatory checks.

Sam Bond

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