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Site waste management plan rules to be abolished

The government will abolish the requirement for contractors to have site waste management plans in England from 1 October.

A paper from the department for the environment food and rural affairs published  today said the government would repeal the construction site waste management plan regulations (2008).

The paper said the 72 contractors that responded to the consultation on the move, which was carried out in June and July, were split on the proposals with 41 agreeing and 29 opposing the repeal.

But the majority – 55-said they would continue to use site waste management plans even though they would no longer obliged to do so by regulation. 12 said they would stop using the plans.

Overall 169 people responded to the consultation with 82 supporting the repeal and 82 opposed it.

One respondent said the repeal was “a very positive move for contractors”. They thought the plans would remain as “industry best practice” with the repeal meaning contractors would free to choose when and how they used them. Another said the plans were “a superb tool” to help them manage waste. Some said they would continue with the plans as they were still required for projects aiming for certain BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) and the Code for Sustainable Homes ratings. The paper also said that members of the UK Contractors Group (UKCG) indicated they would still use the plans.

Of those that commented on the impact assessment, 32 agreed and 23 disagreed. 55 thought they would continue to use SWMPs, 5 were unsure and 12 wouldn’t continue.

Some 23 contractors disagreed with findings of the government’s impact assessment of a repeal, which said businesses would save £3.9m  a year from the removal of the regulations, at as the figure did not take into account money saved through reduced waste. But 32 contractors agreed with the assessment.

The government also argued that the plans had failed in their goal of reduced the amount of flytipping, which had remained at around 6 per cent of construction waste. But critics said that the regulations did not apply to projects worth less than £300,000 where fly tipping was more likely to take place. Similarly they argued that the regulations may have prevented an increase in fly tipping

The paper said: “Repealing the regulations will provide a cost saving to business, while giving the option of retaining a site waste management plan as a tool that can be applied to any project to help identify savings. Reducing waste saves businesses money, and with awareness and the appropriate guidance already available we would expect business to take every opportunity to reduce costs in this way.”

It also argued that the landfill tax escalator “appears to be a far more effective instrument for reducing waste to landfill”. It acknowledged there was a danger that the industry could revert to bad behaviour, waste could rise and the UK would miss its target to recover at least 70 per cent of all construction and demolition waste by 2020 under the European Revised Waste Framework Directive.

The paper said the government would publish a “Waste Prevention Programme for England” by the end of the year which would help businesses make savings by preventing waste.

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