May 16, 2020

Industry-led sustainable development commission launches

3 min
Industry-led sustainable development commission launches
Commission aims to provide the industry with a working definition of sustainable development

A new industry-led Sustainable Development Commission (SDC...

Commission aims to provide the industry with a working definition of sustainable development

A new industry-led Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) has been set up to create a clear cut method of assessing sustainable development.

The brain child of leading planning consultancy, Iceni Projects, the commission includes representatives from Land Securities, Crest Nicholson and Dentons. In addition, Shaun Spiers (Chief Executive at Campaign to Protect Rural England – CPRE), Waheed Nazir (Director of Regeneration at Birmingham City Council), Sue Smith (joint Chief Executive at Cherwell District Council and South Northamptonshire Council) and Janet Askew (Immediate Past President Royal Town Planning Institute - RTPI) will sit on the panel.

Former Planning and Housing Minister and Minister for London, Nick Raynsford, who is a consultant for Iceni, will Chair the commission.

The SDC will look to define a practical method for evaluating the sustainable credentials of development proposals, encompassing social, economic and environmental factors. Operating within the context established by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), the SDC will seek to produce a universal ‘scorecard’ that can then be applied to developments to demonstrate their sustainable credentials.

Ian Anderson, Executive Director at Iceni Projects, said: “Sustainable development sits at the heart of the NPPF, and rightly so – it contributes to the ongoing success of our economy and the quality of all our lives. However, there is no consistent application of what sustainable development entails, either in the plan-making or decision-taking process. We think there are compelling grounds for changing this, and to give planners and community groups the tools they need to deliver.

“The SDC represents a broad spectrum of the industry, and the challenge will be to find a system that consistently captures the requirements for sustainable development in a clear and easy way across different scales of projects and different land uses. In doing so, we believe we can both ease the path for projects that deliver on the objectives of the NPPF, as well as sending deficient proposals back to the drawing board.”

Nick Raynsford, Chair of the new Sustainable Development Commission commented: “Along with Iceni, I firmly believe the NPPF can serve as the defining tool to bring sustainability into the mainstream. It will not be an easy task, and will require industry-wide support and collaboration to do so, but the prize to be gained from making progress is huge.”

The SDC will include a wide spectrum of organisations that represent both residential and commercial development. It will offer a single voice for those passionate about sustainable development from the private, public and academic sectors.

Waheed Nazir, Director of Regeneration at Birmingham City Council, said: “Birmingham is a city with big and bold aspirations when it comes to housing and the built environment. It is vital that we challenge ourselves as a city and an industry to enable us to get to the heart of some of our most pressing challenges and explore solutions that will deliver the breakthroughs in city scale sustainability. I am hugely excited about the opportunity to collaborate with industry experts and identify the innovative solutions that will be good for the future growth of the city.”

Chris Tinker, Regeneration and Strategic Land Chairman at Crest Nicholson welcomes the formation of the commission and comments: "Whilst the NPPF champions sustainable development there remains a lack of clarity as to what, in practice, constitutes sustainable development. The commission's work will help to bring the clarity that is required and assist plan makers and developers alike to formulate and deliver sustainable development proposals"

Two large-scale, mixed-use projects will be used to test the scorecard as it is developed by the SDC with the hope of a tried and tested version then being rolled out across the industry. 


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Jul 29, 2021

Environment Agency clamps down on plastic films and wraps

Dominic Ellis
3 min
Environment Agency aware of plastic film and wrap from the construction and demolition sector being illegally exported

Businesses in the waste and construction industries must ensure they deal with waste plastic properly to stop illegal exports, the Environment Agency (EA) has warned. 

The warning comes as the Agency is increasingly aware of plastic film and wrap from the construction and demolition sector being illegally exported. 

Exports are frequently being classified as ‘green list’ waste of low risk to the environment, but are often contaminated with materials such as mud, sand, bricks and woodposing a risk to the environment and human health overseas, and undermining legitimate businesses in the UK seeking to recover such waste properly.

During the last year, the EA has intercepted shipments to prevent the illegal export of this material on numerous occasions. The Agency inspected 1,889 containers at English ports and stopped 463 being illegally exported. This, combined with regulatory intervention upstream at sites, prevented the illegal export of nearly 23,000 tonnes of waste.

Those convicted of illegally exporting waste face an unlimited fine and a two-year jail sentence. But construction firms could also face enforcement action if contaminated construction and demolition waste plastic is illegally exported.

Malcolm Lythgo, Head of Waste Regulation at the Environment Agency, said it is seeing a marked increase in the number of highly contaminated plastic film and wrap shipments from the construction and demolition industry being stopped by officers.

“I would strongly urge businesses to observe their legal responsibility to ensure waste is processed appropriately, so we can protect human health and the environment now and for future generations. It’s not enough just to give your waste to someone else - even a registered carrier. You need to know where your waste will ultimately end up to know it’s been handled properly. We want to work constructively with those in the construction and waste sectors so they can operate compliantly, but we will not hesitate to clamp down on those who show disregard for the environment and the law.”

There are a number of simple, practical steps that businesses can take to ensure that C&D site waste is handled legally.

Construction businesses should check what’s in their waste

  • Different waste types need different treatments and so must be correctly categorised to ensure it goes to a site that is authorised to handle it safely. Businesses can also check if their waste is hazardous as different rules might apply.
  • If you are removing the waste yourself, you must be a registered waste carrier- registration can be carried out here. When a waste collector is transporting your site waste, you must check they have a waste carrier’s licence from the EA.
  • You must also check that the end destination site any waste is taken to is permitted to accept it and has the right authorisations in place. Keep a record of any waste that leaves your site by completing a waste transfer note or a consignment note for hazardous waste which record what and how much waste you have handed over and where it is going.

Waste management industry must adhere to export controls

  • Contaminated C&D waste plastic - including low-density polyethylene (LDPE) wrap and film - must be exported with prior consent from the EA as well as competent authorities in transit and destination countries.
  • Those involved in the export of such waste must ensure that it meets the requirements set under the relevant export controls, such as being almost free-from contamination; the destination sites are appropriately licensed to receive and treat the waste; and waste is correctly managed once received.

The EA will continue to actively target those who export contaminated C&D plastic waste illegally, including any accredited packaging exporters who issue Packaging Waste Export Recovery Notes (PERNs) against such material in breach of their Conditions of Accreditation.

Businesses involved in the shipment of waste are required to take all necessary steps to ensure the waste they ship is managed in an environmentally sound manner throughout its shipment and during its recycling.

Anyone with information regarding the illegal export of waste including C&D waste plastics can contact the EA’s Illegal Waste Exports team at: [email protected] or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their website 

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