We are delighted to have met the OEP on 23rd September as part of delivering our Strategy to define, and promote, the role of an EnvCoW.
The purpose, and format, of the meeting was similar to other Government Agency meetings which we have hosted (such as Environmental Standards Scotland and the NIEA) whereby we highlighted how EnvCoWs can support delivery of the Government’s aims and objectives through the provision of fair, and transparent, monitoring, particularly if it is appointed independently of projects. To achieve this, we highlighted the role of construction contracts, including how EnvCoWs are appointed directly by Developers, or Contractors, and how this likely limits environmental outcomes and does not best support achievement of compliance. We also highlighted other challenges and opportunities within the industry, including the implementation of, and compliance with, existing environmental law during construction, as well as the need for new regulations to set out roles and responsibilities for delivering, and monitoring, environmental obligations during construction (ie. CDM for environment). This was discussed in the context of the Biodiversity Crisis and the absence of fair and transparent monitoring, which does not enable any organisation to understand the extent of construction impacts on biodiversity, or the environment.
The OEP has also invited AECoW to attend a workshop in London later in October to explore opportunities and risks for environmental protection and we will raise EnvCoW as a critical role to help drive up environmental compliance. We shall post updates on this in the Members’ Area.
It is encouraging that, by way of a post meeting follow up, the OEP has expressed an intention to join the dots with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and requested the names of our contacts there – this bodes well for supporting consistency across England and NI in the future!