New regs aim to control construction waste

All construction projects in England costing more than £300,000 will soon need plans setting out how building materials and other waste products will be removed from the site.

Under new regulations which come into force next month, builders and developers will have to produce a Site Waste Management Plan (SWMP).

The plans – which should ensure that waste is disposed of legally and recycling, reuse and recovery are maximised – have to be written during the design stage of the project and followed and updated throughout construction.

There will be two types of SWMP – a simpler one for projects costing between £300,000 and £500,000, and a more detailed plan for those costing more than £500,000.

It will be the client’s or principal contractor’s responsibility to ensure the SWMP regulations are met, and companies could face a fine or even prosecution from the Environment Agency or local authorities if they fail to follow the rules.

WRAP (the Waste & Resources Action Plan) is offering companies help to meet their obligations, and has produced a template for drawing up SWMPs.

Mervyn Jones, WRAP programme manager for Waste Minimisation and Management, said: “Now that SWMPs are to become mandatory we wanted to provide an approach that would not just help the sector and its clients comply with the legislation, but also offer the opportunity to identify and deliver good and best practice in reducing waste and using materials more efficiently.

“The template will lead construction professionals through both the development and implementation of the plan, at each stage of construction.”

The introduction of compulsory SWMPs has raised concerns among parts of the construction industry.

The Home Builders Federation is one organisation that raised fears the regulations would place more burdens on developers, and said small DIY jobs were more likely to deal irresponsibly with waste.

WRAP’s SWMP template and other guidance can be found at:

Kate Martin

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