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Pollution prevention

Pollution prevention

Taking simple steps to prevent pollution incidents during the construction process will save you money and protect the environment.

Pollution incidents occur every day as a result of spills, accidents, negligence or vandalism. Pollutants can put human health at risk and destroy wildlife habitats.

What to do if a pollution incident occurs
If you have a pollution incident call us immediately. We will help minimise any risks.

How to prevent pollution
In law, the polluter pays principle means that you will have to pay to put right any damage to the environment. This can be avoided with careful planning and following good practice on-site.

We have produced step-by-step guidance on how to plan your activities on-site to prevent pollution incidents, updated in March 2012 to fix broken links and provide guidance on concrete wash waters.

Working at constuction and demolition sites: preventing pollution guidance PPG

Developed in prtnership with industry to help those working at construction and demolition sites to prevent pollution.

Downloading this guidance:
This is a large PDF and will download and work more quickly if you:
Download it using a fast internet connection, for example, download it and save it when you are in an office, rather than using remote access, such as 3G.
Wait for the guidance to fully download and then save it to your hard drive or memory stick, rather than trying to open and use it before saving.
Ensure you have an up-to-date version of Internet Explorer and Adobe Reader/Writer.

Using this guidance:
You can type directly into the checklists to record actions and references. If you have Adobe Writer then you can save any changes you make. If you have Adobe Reader you can only print your changes.

Basic steps you should take to guard against pollution

Identify all the drainage pathways and systems on your site. This is fundamental to prevent pollution.

Deliveries and handling of materials such as oils, chemicals, concrete and other polluting materials is always high risk – good working practices are essential.

Good storage of oils, chemicals, stockpiles, soil and other materials will reduce your environmental risks.

Minimise waste to save money and resources. Legal waste storage and disposal is essential to prevent pollution.

You must have good arrangements and procedures to collect, store, treat and dispose of concrete wash, silty and runoff water, sewage and other liquid effluents.

You can’t see groundwater, but you mustn’t forget about it. Make sure you protect it from pollution.

Wildlife and people can be adversely affected by noise, dust and light pollution. Make plans to limit these disturbances.
Training and emergency planning play a crucial role in protecting the environment – trained and knowledgeable staff can help prevent or lessen the effects of a pollution incident, saving money and time.

Additional Pollution Prevention Guides (PPGs) on oil storage and other specific construction activities

Discharging and abstracting water
If you are going to make a discharge to surface water (for example to a river, stream, estuary or the sea), or to groundwater (including via an infiltration system), you will usually need to apply for a permit or an exemption before construction begins. Due to limited water supplies, you will also need to follow our guidance for water abstraction.

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