Since early 2008, Site Waste Management Plans (SWMPs) have been mandatory for any construction project over £300,000.

SWMPs were introduced in an attempt to encourage better waste management. They should be held on site at all times, giving details on how much waste will be produced on a project, what form the waste will take and what will happen to it.

The Environment Agency (EA) and local authorities are jointly responsible for monitoring SWMPs. Both have the power to issue fines where there is no SWMP, or where one is incomplete. To date, policing of SWMPs has been lax, but that is about to change. The EA has started carrying out spot checks of SWMPs at sites across the South East. Some local authorities (including Brighton and Hove City Council) are beginning to do the same.

The EA will also check compliance with other waste regulations during its spot checks. To minimise the risk of failing a spot check, make sure you have a robust SWMP at all your sites and that they are compliant with other waste regulations.