New CIRIA Guidance on Sustainable Management of Surplus Soils

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Article provided by Andy O’Dea – Technical Director at Cognition Land and Water

Materials management is a key commercial and compliance issue on all construction projects, which often generate large amounts of surplus soil.  Managing these soils and navigating the abundance of associated guidance, regulation and legislation is an important but challenging task.  There are significant complexities around deciding if site soils are a waste or when they have achieved end-of-waste status.  There is also much confusion in the industry on how to classify, handle, store, dispose or reuse such soils whilst ensuring compliance with relevant legal obligations and regulatory requirements.

CIRIA has recognised these difficulties and commissioned a research project with the primary aim of producing concise, up to date, interactive guidance on the whole surplus soil management process from ‘cradle to grave’.  The guidance will allow the user to make informed decisions about how to manage their site soils including defining and classifying wastes, and procedures to be followed for treatment, reuse and disposal.  It will differ from other waste guidance by looking specifically at the management requirements for specific site activities.  This will enable the busy site manager to quickly get to the information they need for the actual process they are undertaking.  It will also help the designer or planner understand soil management options at the outset thereby reducing the opportunities for generation of waste soils in the first place.

Funding has been obtained, the project research contractor has been appointed and the first steering group meeting is to be held in November.  It is proposed that the first draft of the report will be completed by late December 2020 and open consultation workshops will be held in late January 2021.  CIRIA and the Project Steering Group would welcome contributions and comments during the consultation phase to ensure that the report meets the requirements of the industry.  If you have any queries or would like to receive early notification of consultation workshops, please contact CIRIA Project Manager, Joanne Kwan on