Welsh Government
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New plan to manage waste from construction and demolition

Environment Minister, John Griffiths has recently launched a new plan that will help the construction and demolition sector to manage and treat its waste much more sustainably, whilst ensuring better economic outcomes for Wales.

The Construction and Demolition Sector Plan forms a crucial part of the Welsh Government’s strategy to meet its ambitious zero waste targets.

It sets out a number of proposals around how waste from within the construction and demolition sector could be managed more sustainably and more affordably to ensure the best economic outcomes for Wales and Welsh business.

The plan focuses on four key areas. These are; waste prevention where possible, preparing for reuse by preserving waste materials, recycling and finally, where it is the only option, sustainable treatment and disposal.

Speaking about the plan, the Minister said:

“Waste from the construction and demolition sector currently accounts for 14% of the ecological footprint of Wales’ total waste, making it the third highest impact sector.

“This means that improvements to waste management within the construction and demolition sector could have a significant impact on Wales’ overall performance on waste.

“This plan encourages waste reduction, and the preservation of old building materials such as bricks, window and door frames so they can be reused. It also encourages the development of an infrastructure for reuse between construction and demolition contractors and the third sector, measures that can only be good news in these difficult economic times.

“We know that the construction sector is vital to Wales’ economy, contributing 30% to Wales GDP. This means as a sector it has the potential to be a powerful agent for change in making Wales a much more sustainable country. I hope that this plan will encourage positive and sustainable change within the sector."

Milica Kitson, chief executive of Constructing Excellence in Wales, which played a key role in the development of the Construction and Demolition Sector Plan said:  

“Our role as the link between government and industry has enabled to draw together a wide range of construction and demolition practitioners who have already made a contribution to the development of this stage of plan. We know that they are eager to continue to contribute to the introduction of the Sector Plan and will be looking forward to ensuring that the consultation process is a success.”

A survey from 2005-06 showed that while reuse and recycling are prevalent in the construction and demolition sector, landfill is still the primary option for a number of waste streams.

The Welsh Government launched its waste strategy ‘Towards Zero Waste’ in 2010. The strategy sets out ambitious targets for Wales to recycle 70 pre cent of its waste by 2025 and to become a zero waste nation by 2050. The plan is backed up by detailed delivery plans setting out exactly what each sector must do if Wales is to meet those targets.

The Environment Minister has launched a 13 week consultation on the plan and has urged interested parties to get involved and feed in their views.

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