Environment Agency calls for better management of construction spills

A new construction industry report has been published by the Environment Agency in partnership with the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF).

The latest Construction Industry Report has been commissioned by the Environment Agency, in partnership with the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF).

A new construction industry report has been published by the Environment Agency in partnership with the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) on construction spills, guidance on how to prevent spills and who should take responsibility – the contractor or developer. It is available today by registering on the BSIF website here.

The report has been compiled from a series of interviews, debates and detailed whitepapers and communicates the Environment Agency’s outline on guidelines, support and future actions to encourage environmental management. Contributors to the report include Wilmott Dixon, Bouygues UK, Sir Robert McAlpine, Bovis Homes, Lend Lease and MACE Group.

Key safety and environmental spokespeople from these companies have interacted with Environment Agency to offer a practical guide to implementing effective spill prevention and control.

Topics such as ‘Developing a spill training plan: Knowing the basics to put in place today’ and ‘How to ensure the disposal of hazard waste and liquids both during and post-construction phase’ were debated amongst the panelists.

The Rt. Hon. Lord Smith of Finsbury, Chairman, Environment Agency commented:

“Sustainable growth is absolutely possible with construction and demolition alongside it. Ensuring that construction work happens in the right way is something that is very important. Of course there are major potential impacts from construction work with close to 77 million tonnes of waste generated in England in 2010 and 1 million tonnes of hazardous waste as part of that. The potential for negative incidents to occur is considerable and making sure that everyone is clear about how best to minimise the impact of construction and its waste on the surrounding environment is what this joint work between ourselves and the construction industry is all about”

He went on to say:

“One of the issues that I feel is already happening is that many of the major construction companies are improving their performance, doing better, and thinking seriously about these environmental and spill management issues”

The full interview, debates and whitepapers can be read in the report.

Key findings within the report:

  • Asbestos named as the key hazardous waste in solid form that most contractors have to manage on site, in line with strict legislation
  • From an excavation perspective, contaminated grounds from fuels or oils is a key issue on site
  • Hazardous materials and liquids generated from construction activities must have the right designations, with waste areas mandatory on site
  • Contractors must look down their supply chains to stop accepting non-specification compliant materials such as soil, onto sites through a lack of knowledge
  • Key frustrations on construction sites relates to left over hazardous waste from previous contractors – pre site checks have to be done, guidelines are essential
  • Environment Agency urged to take a harder line with the construction industry and everyone in general, in terms of prosecutions.
  • Contractors are ticking boxes in line with guidance, but are failing to engage with the wider subject of spills and prevention
  • The waste industry would benefit from a better understanding of what can happen to plasterboard, where it can be recycled and how to deal with it economically.
  • Spill response training is widespread but prevention plans need to be adapted at different sites, by identifying risk early on
  • Subcontractors play a vital role in making sure spill prevention procedures are followed
  • Overall responsibility between subcontractors and those contracting when it comes to designing an adequate spill prevention framework lies with those who are control of the site.
  • A lack of knowledge and experience associated with water management and an absence of suitable on-site practices are the biggest causes of pollution spills, with releases of oil and silt to watercourses, the most common.


Notes to Editors:

About Environment Agency

The Environment Agency is an Executive Non-departmental Public Body responsible to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and a Welsh Government Sponsored Body responsible to the Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development.

Their principal aims are to protect and improve the environment, and to promote sustainable development. They play a central role in delivering the environmental priorities of central government and the Welsh Government through their functions and roles.


About British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF)

Established in 1994, the BSIF is the UK’s leading trade body for the safety industry.  The Federation represents manufacturers and distributors of safety, health and environmental products; training companies; safety and environmental consultancies; together with accreditation and inspection houses, publishers and risk management consultancies. It is a Health and Safety Executive-recognised competent authority and the lead trade body for the PPE Regulations, as designated by the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. 

The BSIF works with its members and other relevant bodies to help ensure the industry is ‘working together in safety’. Further information can be found at:


The report can be accessed by registering here

Contributors to the Construction Spills Prevention Matters Report are available for comment and interview

Representatives from Clear Path Analysis are available for media interviews and comments.  For all media enquiries on this construction industry report contact:

Nicky Frost, SMPR (Simply Marcomms Limited), 18 Boiler House, Electric Wharf, Coventry, CV1 4JU, Tel: 0870 199 4044, Email: nicky@simplymarcomms.co.uk


The Construction Spills Prevention Matters Report has been created and published by Clear Path Analysis

About Clear Path Analysis

Clear Path Analysis is a media company that specialises in the publishing of high quality, online reports in the financial services and investments sector. Our reports are truly independent and produced with no end agenda as a collection of opinions. Contribution comes from a cross-section of finance experts both for and against the same ideas and industry developments.


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Simply Marcomms becomes SMPROnline B2B PR Solutions At SMPR (Simply Marcomms Ltd), we are in the business of gaining coverage for your company, your brand or your B2B products & services and driving traffic to your website. Using the latest techniques in online / digital B2B PR, we will increase your online visibility and influence your online audiences. If you want to increase revenues, let us connect your online PR messages with journalists, bloggers and search engines. When digital PR is used effectively as part of an overall online marketing strategy, the intellectual capital and technical knowledge base within your company can be called upon to generate articles, whitepapers and sector relevant content that will be of interest to your target audience. If you are not sure how your company is measuring up to its PR objectives, give us a call on 0870 199 4044 or email us and we will contact you for an informal chat about getting your online PR kick-started.




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A new construction industry report has been published by the Environment Agency in partnership with the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF).
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Sustainable growth is absolutely possible with construction and demolition alongside it.
Rt. Hon. Lord Smith of Finsbury