Site Waste Management Plans (SWMPs) are no longer a legal requirement for construction projects as of 1 December, after the Government cut the requirement in a bid to reduce red tape for construction businesses.
Under the 2008 Regulations, all construction projects in England over £300,000 was legal required to have a SWMP in place. This had to include: what kind of waste the site produces; how the waste is disposed of; waste carrier registration number; and details of the environmental permit or exemption number of where waste from the site is being sent to.
As part of the government’s red tape challenge, which was designed to remove “unnecessary” legislation, Defra proposed the repeal of the construction SWMP regulations, subject to consultation on the impact of doing so.
Defra released a summary of responses earlier this year (30 August), of which there were 169 respondents in total, including Environment Agency, DS Smith Recycling, Kier Group Ltd and local authorities.
Defra said that responses and comments support industry assertions that generally the client passes the Plan onto the contractor to deal with.
Defra – “Repealing the Regulations will provide a cost saving to business, while giving the option of retaining SWMP as a tool that can be applied to any project to help identify savings”
“This lack of ownership from clients and engagement from the design community would back-up claims that waste prevention opportunities are being lost,” Defra said.
“Defra still recognises the value of SWMPs as useful resource efficiency tools, which can be adapted for each project and business,” it said.
Fourty-nine percent were in favour of Defra’s plans to repeal the regulations, while three percent of respondents were impartial.
“Repealing the Regulations will provide a cost saving to business, while giving the option of retaining SWMP as a tool that can be applied to any project to help identify savings,” Defra stated in the report.
Defra is however hoping that SWMPs will still be used by businesses on a voluntary basis, giving them flexibility by using it as a tool rather than rigid legislation.
Some projects will still require SWMPs in order to comply with the BRE Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) certification, which is used to assess the sustainability of buildings.