SWMPs were introduced in 2008 and were required to be in place before construction work began for projects with an estimated cost in excess of £300,000. A more detailed SWMP was needed if the estimated construction cost was above £500,000. The Plan had to include how to identify the waste likely to be produced on site, how to minimise its quantity, and how to deal with it.
Responsibility for preparing the Plan rested with the person commissioning the works. The penalty for failing to prepare and keep a SWMP was a maximum fine of £50,000 in Magistrates’ Courts, and an unlimited fine in Crown Courts. The intention was to ensure ‘commercial Contractors’ were responsible for their own waste and for limiting its impact on the surrounding environment.
What Does this Mean for Your Business?
There is no longer a requirement to have a SWMP or any other similar Waste Management Plan in place before construction work begins, regardless of cost. (Although it must be remembered that there is a still large amount of environmental legislation governing the safe disposal of materials.) In its consultation on the issue, the Government addressed concerns such as ‘decreased efforts to reduce construction waste, keep it out of landfill and increased fly-tipping’ as ‘minimal’ compared with the administrative cost-saving to businesses.
Despite the revocation, in practice it appears that many businesses will continue to use SWMPs. While some of you may welcome removal of the requirement for SWMPs, others may view the decision as an administrative ‘waste’ of time if, in practice, many of you continue to use them, realising that reducing waste not only saves money, but also plays an important part in reducing your carbon footprint. (Some of your Clients may also insist on it!)