Our client was a major UK construction company with a multi-billion pound turnover. The client had won a major road construction project that involved the use of waste in construction and were aware of the need for suitable permitting to use waste materials in this way.
Our client had been in discussion with the Environment Agency for several weeks prior to our involvement and it became clear to them that the advice the Agency had given was incorrect, which meant that the £56 million project was facing a delayed start.
AC Environmental were brought in to liaise with the Agency and planners to find a solution to allow the project to start on time.
We entered into discussions with the Agency and agreed an enforcement position allowing the use of treated colliery spoil pending preparation and submission of an application for a mobile plant permit and deployment application, to allow the continued use of treated colliery spoil in the construction of this major traffic route.
Once the permit was put in place AC Environmental were able to provide COTC cover to the client as they did not have the necessary expertise in-house. Whilst carrying out our duties of COTC cover on the permitted area, we also provided general advice on waste related issues for the project as a whole and almost immediately identified a serious issue.
The client had entered into a contract to procure 125,000 tonnes of recycled hardcore for construction of site roads from a local aggregates supplier. This was to be produced under the aggregates protocol so that waste regulations did not apply.
However, in carrying out Duty of Care waste checks on the supplier it became apparent that the protocol was not being properly applied and the hardcore supplied was in fact still waste.
This placed our client at risk, as they had already used several thousand tonnes in site roads, which potentially was an offence under Section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. As well as the costs of removal of such material to landfill, potential fines of a Section 33 offence are up to 600% of weekly turnover. For a multi-billion company this could have been an expensive oversight.
We advised our client throughout this time and also provided advice to the supplier who changed site procedures and eventually began to supply the proper materials.
By using the services of AC Environmental, our client was able to commence the project on time and avoided a potentially embarrassing and expensive mistake in using waste hardcore.