Be aware of licensing changes, urges environmental body

A licence and pollution prevention plan will be required for sites that exceed four hectares

THE Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has urged the construction industry to be fully aware of new licensing requirements that will soon come into effect.

From September 1 2018 all new large construction projects must have a licence and pollution prevention plan in place before any construction work can commence.

A licence will be required for sites that exceed four hectares in area; contain a road or track length in excess of five kilometres; or include any area of more than one hectare or any length of 500 metres on ground with a slope in excess of 25 degrees.

SEPA has produced guidance for the construction industry to help with the development of a pollution prevention plan, which will be required before any work commences. This plan must be complied with on site, during the entire construction phase.

All discharges of water run-off from construction sites to the water environment are regulated, and the changes apply to construction types including house and industrial building, wind farms, forestry, transport, pipe laying, overhead pylons and hydro power schemes.

David Harley, head of water and planning at SEPA said, “Every day SEPA works to protect and enhance Scotland’s environment and the changes to the regulations have been introduced to reduce the risks of pollution to the water environment from construction site water run-off.

“The changes will ensure adequate treatment systems are in place to protect the environment prior to and during the construction phase. For example, this will reduce the risk of silty water run-off which can damage and kill aquatic life by smothering and suffocating.

“We are clear that compliance is non-negotiable and have been engaging with the construction sector to ensure they are aware of the changes coming into force. If you’re responsible for the operation of a construction site please contact your local SEPA office as soon as possible, so that we can work with you to ensure that the correct authorisations are in place.”