Regulations could just complicate environmental approval system without tackling real issues, says CIOB

The government has been criticised for failing to provide clear guidance in its review of the regulations on inert waste.

The review aims to create a more risk-based and proportionate approach to the regulation of inert waste, but the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has raised concerns about the proposals, which is says may merely add to bureaucracy.

It believes that the opportunity to do something meaningful could be missed unless the government clearly defines what is and what is not waste.

Stephen Wielebski, a CIOB ambassador, said: “We feel the proposals could expose the construction industry to a duplicate and uncertain approval process under the emerging environmental permitting regime.

“Equally, it fails to address two issues that are of intrinsic importance to UK construction - the need for clarity on the UK government's definition of waste, and the availability of a comprehensive series of soil guideline values, which indicate the level of risk from contaminants.”

In its submission to the review, the CIOB highlighted a number of other concerns:

o The proposals have the potential to add to the existing regulatory burden in terms of how the construction industry approaches the earthworks element of construction.

o The proposals are based on an extension of established waste management licensing and environmental permitting legislation, which have long been considered inappropriate.

o The proposals do not consider the role and robustness of extant planning legislation, which effectively permits, controls, validates and verifies what takes place on any conventional construction site.