Construction Environmental Management Planning

Why do you need Construction Environmental Management Planning?

Construction activities can lead to accidents and risks to environmental resources and people.

Noise, dust, air quality changes, disruption, waste, pollution and changes to the local environment including transport, wildlife and the overall ambience of an area, are all potentially at risk during construction activities.

The Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) is not just a record or document, but also a live process during construction, that helps to identify and ensure environmental impacts to humans and our environment are minimised and controlled.

Local laws and policies regulate compliance for environmental protection and guide the issues detailed in the CEMP.

When is a CEMP required?

A CEMP makes good sense and saves costs, and is a recommended process for all scales of construction project, whether large or small.

A planning application may include a condition for a CEMP and its scope, and works cannot start until the CEMP is approved by the Authority or Regulator.

They are often included in the Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Statement reporting to inform consents and planning applications, and are required for the building of large infrastructure and housing developments.

Significant industrial and manufacturing processes, and those requiring an Environmental Permit, will also usually require a CEMP, as well as other schemes posing a significant risk to the environment.

Who is responsible for the CEMP?

The Applicant for the planning application or proposed scheme is responsible for the CEMP. A specific condition outlining what the CEMP must cover will be imposed on the planning permission or permit.

You might choose to bring in a consultant or contractor to develop the CEMP process and documentation to ensure all its complexities are handled correctly. Each part of the construction delivery and supply chain will have responsibilities, under contract, to audit and implement the site-specific CEMP. Toolbox training is delivered to the construction team and supply chain at key milestones of the construction programme to reinforce their contractual responsibilities.

What do I need in a CEMP?

The content of a CEMP will vary depending on the nature and scale of the construction project and the specific conditions of the site and surroundings.  A consultant can advise you of what to consider and will undertake an initial Environmental Risk Assessment of the construction plan to identify sensitive areas on or around the site.

Things for you to consider including in your CEMP:

  • Describe who you are and where the site is
  • Identify who your supply chain will be and their roles, responsibilities, training and competencies
  • Give details of environmental studies such as Environmental Assessments, Environmental Risk Assessments and supporting reports for planning or permitting
  • Assess potential environmental impacts to air, water and land, local communities and businesses, and how they can be mitigated – for example, dust management, safety measures to prevent pollution to watercourses, protection of archaeology or traffic management
  • Describe your construction activities and programme
  • Identify the guiding environmental policies, environmental management systems, and relevant regulations
  • Prepare an emergency management plan for accidents and specific hazards such as spills or flooding
  • Detail how you will audit, review, monitor and improve environmental performance
  • Keep good records for incidents, performance and environmental checklists.

How to manage environmental risks to your construction programme

CEMPs provide a baseline to audit and review risks and accidents that could otherwise disrupt and delay construction programmes, or even cause penalties and legal action. 

Reviewing contracts with supply chains to establish clear roles and responsibilities, and set performance targets and audits using a CEMP, are essential for effective site-specific environmental risk management.  

How to manage construction risks to your neighbours

Construction can lead to acute – although often temporary – environmental effects, and Construction Environmental Management Planning will help to manage environmental risks and accidents affecting your neighbours.

Working with local groups and Regulators to agree thresholds and implement protection measures are fundamental to supporting considerate contractor relationships with your neighbours. Clear communication, transparency, and setting good standards of environmental performance are essential when managing local risks to people and the environment.

Can I get recognised for good environmental management?

There are awards for considerate construction and good environmental performance, recognising and rewarding improvements and innovations in the construction industry. A well developed and implemented CEMP can help you win such an award and promote your business.

For advice about your site’s CEMP and support in writing and implementing the necessary procedures, contact Engain on 01225 459564 or email enquiries@engain.com

Get in touch

To discuss your project requirements, please contact our experienced team