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Contractors face unlimited site waste fines

Contractors face an unlimited fine in the Crown Court, if they fail to comply with new site waste legislation.

From 6 April all construction projects will need to be accompanied by Site Waste Management Plans a mandatory requirement on all aspects of construction work worth more than £300,000.

The new legislation is being implemented by the Government to tackle the growing waste mountain generated by the UK construction industry, which hit 109 million tonnes last year.

Partner at law firm Boodle Hatfield David Johnston said: “Waste is a big issue in the construction industry.

"Some 13 per cent of all new construction materials go straight to landfill without ever being used and about 40 per cent of all fly-tipping is of construction and building waste. SWMPs are the government’s reaction to this problem.”

A SWMP identifies the client and the principal contractor and outlines the site, project, and decisions taken to reduce the volume of waste on site.

SWMPs must describe each type of waste to be produced and identify whether it is to be reused, recycled, recovered or disposed of.

Mr Johnston said: “The maximum penalty is an unlimited fine in the Crown Court, or £50,000 before the magistrates. There is also a provision for a fixed penalty of £300 for failure to produce a SWMP."

The Government-funded Waste and Resources Action Programme has launched a Site Waste Management Plan template to help the construction industry comply with new legislation

The template has been developed with Halcrow, Costain, C4S, the NHBC Foundation and the BRE to support the industry in developing their plans.

The template and supporting guidance are available free here: