Opinion Former Article

CPA: Construction Waste Stats show progress in reducing waste to landfill

 

The latest construction industry waste figures show that the industry is continuing to make good progress with regard to reducing the amount of construction and demolition waste going to landfill, even allowing for the decline in construction activity due to the recession.  The latest figures, published today, show that since the baseline figure was established in 2008, construction and demolition waste to landfill has reduced by 1.87 million tonnes. The industry is therefore on target to meet the halving waste to landfill target for these two particular waste streams.

However, the news was disappointing in regard to excavation waste, primarily soil and stones, which has seen a sharp increase by 2.4 million tonnes in the amounts going to landfill.  The cause of this sudden spike is as yet unknown but a number of possible theories are being promulgated and will receive further investigation. 

These include changes in exemptions available under the new environmental permitting regulations that now have much lower tonnage thresholds for the reuse of soils and stones on construction sites. In 2010 there were a number of major projects producing large volumes of excavated material, these could have had a significant impact on the data. Another suggestion is that the decline in domestic waste going to landfill has accelerated the closure of a number of less profitable landfill sites and inert material, such as soils and stones, is required to fill the voids and restore these sites.

The industry working collaboratively with Defra, the Environment Agency and WRAP through the Strategic Forum for Construction’s Waste Subgroup, will be exploring in more depth the reasons for the soil and stones spike.  The Group, now a part of the government’s Green Construction Board activities has been monitoring construction, demolition and excavation waste since 2008, as well as advising what actions are needed across the industry to be more efficient in the use of materials and to reduce waste to landfill.

Chairman of the Waste Subgroup Peter Johnson said: “We are very pleased with the progress being made across the industry in reducing construction and demolition waste to landfill although we are naturally disappointed that the large increase in soils and stones is hindering the delivery of our overarching target of reducing construction, demolition and excavation waste to landfill by 50% by 2012 based on a 2008 baseline”.

Details of the statistics can be found in the latest figures published today at: http://www.strategicforum.org.uk/waste.shtml


-ENDS-


Notes to Editors:

1) The Waste Subgroup began meeting in 2008 as a Subgroup of the Strategic Forum for Construction.  In 2011/12 the work of the Subgroup began to be absorbed into the activities of the Green Construction Board.  The work of the Group has been focused on the target of Halving Waste to Landfill by 2012 based on a 2008 baseline.  To date a measurement methodology has been developed, a 2008 baseline declared, an action plan produced and annual assessments carried out in 2009 and 2010.  Today’s report is the 2010 Assessment Report.  Like tax, the assessment can only be carried after the year in which the data was collected.  The main data sources being from the Environment Agency and the HMRC Landfill Tax.

2) The Strategic Forum for Construction is the only construction forum that seeks to represent the whole of the construction community.  It comprises senior members of the constituent organisations.  The Forum’s activities are both proactive and reactive but at all times seek to work in partnership across the industry to achieve long term improvements. The membership of the Strategic Forum comprises:  
• Construction Clients Group
• Contractors Groups
• Construction Industry Council (currently the host secretariat for the Forum)
• Construction Products Association
• National Specialist Contractors’ Council
• Specialist Engineering Contractors Group
• Trades Union Council. 

3) The Strategic Forum Waste Subgroup is chaired by Peter Johnson of Kier Group on behalf of the UK Contractors Group. 

4) The Waste Subgroup Secretariat is provided by BRE and is supported by WRAP.  WRAP works with businesses and individuals to help them reap the benefits of reducing waste, develop sustainable products and use resources in an efficient way. Established as a not-for-profit company in 2000, WRAP is backed by government funding from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. More information on all of WRAP's programmes can be found on www.wrap.org.uk

5) The 2010 Assessment Report can be found at: http://www.strategicforum.org.uk/waste.shtml

 


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT


Katherine Adams
BRE and Coordinator SFfC Waste Subgroup
E-mail :  adamsk@bre.co.uk

Peter Johnson
Chairman of the Strategic Forum Waste Subgroup
Environmental Manager, Kier Construction Division
E- mail : peter.johnson@Kier.co.uk

Charlie Law
Deputy Chairman of the Strategic Forum Waste Subgroup
Head of Environmental Management, BAM Construct UK Ltd
E-mail:  claw@bam.co.uk


Jane Thornback
Green Construction Board Greening the Industry Secretariat
& SFfC Sustainable Construction Task Group Co-ordinator
c/o Construction Products Association
E-mail:  jane.thornback@constructionproducts.org.uk

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