Is your construction business ready to meet SEPA’s new licensing requirements?

SEPA’s new licensing requirements come into effect this weekend, Saturday 1st September, and they will affect all new large construction projects across Scotland.  

What is Changing?

The changes to the regulations have been introduced to reduce the potential risks of pollution to the water environment from construction sites. Discharges of surface water run-off from construction sites to the water environment are regulated, and the changes are designed to ensure treatment systems are in place prior to and during the construction phase. These changes apply to a wide range of construction types, including residential and industrial building, wind farms, forestry, transport, pipe laying, overhead pylons and hydro power schemes. The changes are designed to ensure treatment systems for surface water runoff are in place prior to and during the construction phase.

Work at new construction sites, including land preparation, must not commence, on or after, 1st September 2018 at sites where a licence is required without:

  • Having first obtained a licence from SEPA; and
  • Adhering to a pollution prevention plan for the site that SEPA has reviewed.

As of September 1st SEPA are expecting complete compliance across the industry. David Harley, Head of Water and Planning at SEPA, has stated: 

“We are clear that compliance is non-negotiable”

These licences must be approved prior to commencement of work and the plan must be complied with onsite during the entire construction phase.

Who Will be Affected?

From 1 September 2018 all new large construction projects must have a licence and Pollution Prevention Plan. These should be secured before any work on site commences.

A licence will be required for sites that:

  • Exceed 4 hectares in area;
  • Contain a road or track length in excess of 5km; or
  • Include any area of more than 1 hectare or any length of more than 500 metres on ground with a slope in excess of 25 degrees.

Your Next Steps.

SEPA expect the construction industry to be aware of new licensing requirements and adhere to these by September 1st. SEPA have requested applicants allow up to four months for them to issue an authorisation and consider your pollution prevention plan.  If you have new developments planned for after September 1st, and were unaware of these changes or would like some advice on what is required from your business Albion will be able to assist. Albion can help with the development of a pollution prevention plan and application submissions or provide feedback and assistance with existing plans. If you have any questions regarding these changes and potential impacts to your business, give Albion call on 01292 610 428 or mailto: info@albion-environmental.co.uk and one of our consultants will be able to assist you.