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Defra opens consultation on the repeal of Site Waste Management Plans Regulations

Consultation has opened on the proposed repeal of a requirement for construction projects in England to have a site waste management plan.

Under the Site Waste Management Plans Regulations (SWMP) of 2008, all projects over £300,000 must have a plan in place to show how construction waste will be handled. The regulations apply only to projects in England.

Repeal of the regulations was proposed by Defra in 2012 in response to the Government’s Red Tape Challenge, an initiative designed to remove unnecessary legislation affecting business.

The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) said that it was concerned over the potential impact of scrapping the requirement for a plan.

“While many of the major construction companies and developers have embedded sustainable waste and resource management into their practices, CIWM believes that there is still a need to drive good practice throughout the sector,” said chief executive Steve Lee.

“In these tough economic times, the Government should be encouraging business to realise the financial benefits of resource efficiency and waste prevention and the role of SWMPs in reducing the impact of flytipping on the public purse must also be considered,” he added.

Tim Burns, evidence and policy manager at Keep Britain Tidy, told MRW that his organisation feared that scrapping of the regulations could lead to an increase in fly-tipping.

“As a result of the regulations many producers are now dealing with waste better than they used to, but there are still gaps that need to be filled,” he said. “While there are short-term costs for the [construction] industry, there are long terms economic benefits for the society from a more efficient use of resources.”

The London Community Resource Network (LCRN), a charity supporting organisations and communities to manage resources sustainably that included some construction industry members, also backed retention of the regulations.

Mike Webster, business development manager at LCRN, told MRW that the regulations should not be part of the red tape challenge: “They have really helped to promote better waste management practices in the construction industry.”

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