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The voice of the skip hire, recycling and waste industries in the UK & Ireland.

Site consultancy and planning

Cutting through red tape Site consultancy and planning may not be at the forefront of the director’s mind when it comes to operating a waste business.  However, it is the most critical part of any waste business strategy.

Planning for waste management is laborious. There are stricter legislations in the waste industry than any other, due to the various  environmental factors that need to be considered.

Any demolition project in the UK that is worth £300,000 or more must have a Site Waste Management Plan (SWMP) by law. The  plans become more comprehensive for projects above the £500,000 threshold. SWMPs that aren’t adhered to properly can often l  lead to prosecution – where not only businesses are fined, but individuals also, often up to £50,000.

If you have a waste management or recycling business, you will be required to adhere to legislation specific to the type of waste  business. There are a variety of different acts, and again, depending on the type of business will depend on which act or acts you  will have to comply with. For example:

  •  The Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 and the Waste Management Duty of  Care Code of Practice 1996.
  •  Environmental Protection Act 1990: Part II ‘Waste on Land’.
  • The Clean Neighbourhood and Environment Act 2005.
  • The Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005.
  • Landfill (England and Wales) Regulations 2002, SI 2002 No. 1559, as amended, e.g. by the Landfill (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2005.

In total, there are 28 acts, required by clause 4.3.2 of ISO 14001.

Confused???

You’re not alone. In the last financial year 2013/14 – the EA spent £16 million in enforcement at poor performing sites and from April 2014 (within a six month timeframe), the EA closed down 255 active illegal sites. Could any of this have been avoided if proper consultancy and site planning was implemented from the outset?

Employing the services of a qualified waste site consultant avoids laws being broken within the specified acts.

The illegal disposal of waste and materials is an imperative issue to the UK Government. ‘Waste crime’ is at its highest it’s ever been, with the government estimating that the cost to the economy is somewhere in the region of £808 million.

A 2014 report, ‘Waste Crime: Tackling Britain’s dirtiest secret’ states, “Effective waste regulation is essential to making the market work. Enforcement is good for waste & resource management businesses, and will also be welcomed by organisations such as Keep Britain Tidy and the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, who in recent and forthcoming publications have highlighted the impact of litter, fly-tipping and other crimes on our urban and rural environments.”

The current proposals set out by DEFRA and the Welsh Government for regulated facilities could signal radical changes in enforcement powers for regulators (EA & NRW) if passed. Sites have to be more cautious than ever of the risks involved with not performing at the very highest standards.

Whilst this might be common sense and the majority of sites do perform to the standards set out, it could be that in some cases – waste managers and staff aren’t aware that a certain regulation isn’t being adhered to. In short – they could be breaking a law and not even know about it.

With the growing labyrinth of complex laws, rules and regulations, getting sound advice from someone who is paid to keep abreast of the changes, not only saves you from being fined, or at worst shut down, it keeps you in the loop of what is happening.

In fact, employing a consultant for your site planning could be the best business move you ever made.

Chris James, CEO of WAMITAB says, “Whether undertaking site planning yourself or with the help of a consultancy, compliance is at the heart of things. It is critical that your technically competent manager has a current CIWM/WAMITAB Continuing Competence certificate; and that any plans reflect regulatory requirements. Whether introducing changes to an existing site or setting up a new facility, training requirements must be considered. Addressing the skills needed by staff who run the operation is a crucial component to getting a return on your investment.”

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