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Site Waste Management Plans (SWMPs) for building projects are no longer a legal obligation for construction businesses in England.


With government trusting the de-regulation will save money for the businesses obligated by the law, the Site Waste Management Plans Regulations 2008 were abolished and came into effect from the 1st of December this year.

All Construction projects in England that were more than £300,000 were obligated to have a Site Waste Management Plan (SWMP) in place under the 2008 Regulations before a project could begin.

The SWMP applied to all facets of construction work including preparatory work such as excavation and demolition as well as engineering projects and civil engineering, alteration, maintenance, and decoration of existing structures.

Details within the plan included how waste is disposed of, the type of waste produced by the site, a waste carrier registration number, and details of the environmental permit or exemption number of where waste from the site is being sent.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is hoping that businesses will use the SWMPs as‘flexible resource efficiency tools’, rather than as an ‘inflexible piece of legislation’.

In order to comply with the BRE Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) certification which is used to assess the sustainability of buildings, SWMP’s will however still be required by certain projects.

The government’s ‘Red Tape Challenge’ aims to do away with regulations ‘which are either ineffective or hold back growth and according to Defra, repealing the Site Waste Management Plan regulations ‘should provide a reduction in the regulatory burden to businesses without any significant environmental impact’.

Changes to the legislation come regardless of 82 of the 169 respondents appeal against scrapping the regulations.

Environmental law expert Eluned Watson of Pinsent Masons, has said:

“The repeal of the SWMP Regulations will only lead to a small regulatory burden being removed, and some question whether the consultation process could have also looked at how the existing Regulations could have been improved rather than repealing them in their entirety or retaining them in their current form,” she said. “It could be argued that an opportunity has been lost to improve and extend the SWMP regime.”


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