New Guide Helps Construction Industry Avoid Environmental Fines
Jan 20 2016
Award winning water treatment specialist Siltbuster (UK) has created a guide to help the construction industry safeguard against the environmental sentencing guidelines.
Introduced in 2014, the guidelines from the Sentencing Council introduced a matrix approach to fines for breaching Environmental Legislation. This new approach carries the risk of massively increased fines for any construction company caught in breach of environmental compliance; For example a deliberate act causing a major pollution incident by a large company could incur fines of between £450,000 and £3 million.
Although most companies have knowledge of the new guidelines, many are not aware of the environmental risk posed by their different construction activities or, with finances often tight, have little to no money in their budget for environmental management. This leaves them at risk of inadvertently breaching legislation and incurring fines under the new guidelines.
To mitigate this risk, Monmouthshire-based, Siltbuster has created an eight-point guide that outlines the actions which companies can take to safeguard themselves. The ‘Construction and the new Sentencing Regime Guide’ covers cultural measures, such as educating staff, and adopting different corporate approaches to health and safety in the environment.
One such action point is to introduce a program to educate site personnel on the environmental risks posed by construction activities. For example, most construction workers are aware of the risks of silt and oil pollution, yet are more than happy to allow concrete wagons to wash out in leaky waste skips, even though high pH concrete wash water on a volume by volume basis has the potential to cause much greater harm than silt or oil.
Other key action points in the guide include planning for risk and the unexpected, as well as financial planning to incorporate the necessary measures to avoid fines in the first place.
Siltbuster CEO, Dr Richard Coulton, explains: “Although there has been talk about these new guidelines, we know a major issue in the construction industry is lack of awareness about what will actually cause the damage that breaches environmental legislation in the first place. Ignorance is no defence and environmental protection measures will ultimately be significantly less expensive and less detrimental than the alternative of being fined! We hope our guide helps construction companies become more clued up.”
In addition to the guide, Siltbuster is running a special Pollution on Construction Sites training program to help site engineers better manage the risk of water pollution. The two different courses are:
- Environmental Professionals Course – a two day CPD training course aimed at environmental advisors and engineers refreshed to reflect changes to legislation and best practice
- Practical Pollution Awareness Course – an interactive one day course aimed at Site Managers and Management Trainees covering practical solutions to day-to-day pollution sources.
Mike Summersgill, former President of the Chartered Institute of Water & Environmental Management said: “Far too many employers assume that if you don’t learn about waste water treatment at college you will instead pick it up somehow. Companies cannot afford to be this casual about such an environmentally and legally important subject.”