Site waste management plans now compulsory

Last month (April) saw the introduction of compulsory Site Waste Management Plans (SWMPs) that aim to halve the amount of waste from building sites by 2012 and eliminate it by 2020.

From now on, any project valued at more than £300,000 has to have an SWMP. It has to identify what waste is being produced and record what is happening to it. If a project is worth more than £500,000 a more detailed plan is required.

The aim is to reduce the amount of material being wasted in the first place and to recycle what cannot be eliminated. It is hoped an added benefit will be a reduction in fly tipping.

According to the government, each year in England and Wales more than 400million tonnes of materials are used in construction while at least 109million tonnes of construction and demolition waste ends up in landfills.

There were 2.6million incidents of fly tipping reported by councils last year that cost rate-payers £75million to clear up.

Clients and contractors will be responsible for implementing SWMPs. Failure to do so can lead to a fine not exceeding £50,000. Fixed Penalty Notices can also be issued, costing £300. The plans must be available for inspection at all times and kept for two years after project completion.

Further guidance on the regulations is available on Defra\'s website: