Site Waste Management Plans scrapped 1st December

Initiated as part of the Defra Red Tape Challenge, aiming to reduce bureaucracy for business, the Site Waste Management Plans Regulations 2008 (SWMP) are going to be repealed on the 1st December 2013. This comes after a consultation that divided opinion over the cut.

A public consultation on the plans to repeal the SWMPs Regulations ran from 18th June to 16 July 2013, the formal response to which is published here. To one key question asked in the consultation, 49% of respondents said that they were in favour and 49% were against scrapping the Regulations. Significantly however, 83% of respondents said they would still use some form of tool to record and manage waste on site.

Policing of the SWMP Regulations was cited as a key issue in the consultation. As Local Authorities and the Environment Agency have a power, but not a duty to enforce, this was seen as one of the main obstacles to better enforcement of these Regulations and therefore greater use of SWMPs.

The £300,000 threshold was also flagged up as a flaw in the Regulations. Several respondents to the consultation suggested that while the Regulations were introduced to cut fly-tipping, most fly-tipping results from contracts worth less than £300,000 and therefore fly-tipping had not be affected by the Regulations. This is something that Defra admits in its consultation response, stating that while fly-tipping in the UK has fallen, construction related fly-tipping as a proportion, has not.

Cross border confusion is also inevitable as SWMPs are looking to be introduced in Wales while they are being repealed in England. Respondents to the consultation stated that this gives a mixed message about the benefits of SWMPs and lack of joined up government.

Defra estimates that the repeal of the Regulations will save businesses £3.9m through reduced administration costs. Defra also makes it clear that the purpose of deregulation is not to outlaw SWMPs or to discourage their use but to allow businesses to balance the costs and benefits of using a SWMP for each project.