New Licence Requirements for Scottish Construction Sites

20 Dec 2017

As of the 1st January 2018, in Scotland the Water Environment (Miscellaneous) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 come into force. This new legislation will require contractors to obtain a formal CAR licence prior to commencing works for any project:

  • Larger than 4 hectares;
  • With access road longer than 5 km;
  • With any area of more than 1 hectare or length >500m with slope in excess of 25 degrees.

The knock-on effect of these amendments is that construction companies must now as part of their pre-construction planning stage make a detailed assessment of the treatment solution (method and size), and predicted water quality that will be achieved during the construction phase. It will no longer be acceptable to arbitrarily select a treatment solution, e.g. settlement lagoon, without first establishing a prediction of the size required and determining the need for any pre-treatment chemicals to achieve the permitted water quality.

Prior to construction works commencing, it is essential that additional design information relating to the nature and volumes of water which will be generated during the construction phase need to be collected, assessed and reviewed.  This information will include details of the:

  • Ground conditions (soils that will be exposed during the site works).
  • Specialist testing of either synthetic or actual samples of site run-off water to establish what will be required to effectively treat site water.
  • Confirmation of the need for chemical pre-treatment, the nature of the chemicals which will be used, likely dose rates and measures that will be adopted to prevent overdosing of chemicals (potential release into environment) and/or spills/leakages of the treatment chemicals from occurring.
  • Predicted treated water quality that will be achieved, including likely residual concentrations of treatment chemicals present within the treated water.

Luke James, Siltbuster’s Scottish Regional Sales Engineer explains: “The Licence application can take up to four months of consultation to secure from SEPA and cost between £1,000 – £2,000. It will need to be in place prior to any construction work commencing, including preparatory ground work, so it’s crucial therefore to plan ahead. Under the new requirements failure to properly plan for the resultant ‘dirty’ water which inevitably will be created during the construction works will result in companies facing increased costs and delays associated with the submission of formal variations to the agreed CAR licence.”

In practice the changes mean that:

  • Effectively the project can’t commence until a licence has been granted and is in place, however licence applications can have a four month statutory response period, so can take a considerable length of time to obtain.
  • There is a need to nominate a named person/company who is responsible for ensuring compliance with the licence.
  • As part of the granting of the licence the responsible person needs to prepare and agree with SEPA a Pollution Prevention Plan (PPP).  SEPA’s agreement to the PPP shall be obtained in writing.
  • Where phased construction works are planned, separate PPP documents covering each of the separate construction phases must be prepared and agreed.
  • Where breaches of the licence conditions/PPP occur the nominated responsible person is required to inform SEPA of the breach within 24hrs and must submit a report within 2 weeks

Whilst this change to the legislation has the potential to cause significant disruption to projects, with sufficient prior planning this can be avoided. To help our clients build up sufficient in-house capability, Siltbuster are running CPD certified training courses on Managing Water Pollution on Construction Sites. We are also more than happy to get involved in projects at an early design stage to provide advice and support with creating the necessary management plans.

For further advice or to discuss a potential future project please either contact our office on 01600 772256 or your local Siltbuster Sales Engineer directly.