Contaminated Land: Applications in Real Environments (CL:AIRE) launched the Gas Protection Verification Accreditation Scheme (GPVS) on the 7th January. The scheme seeks to raise standards in gas membrane inspection, verification and reporting and to ensure that the gas protection verification part of land contamination management meets the necessary technical and regulatory standards.
CL:AIRE is a respected independent not-for-profit organisation established in 1999 to stimulate the regeneration of contaminated land in the UK by raising awareness of, and confidence in, practical and sustainable remediation technologies.
They work with industry, through its membership to identify, common problems in the field of sustainable land management. They also provide technical secretariat services for a number of industry wide programmes such as the National Brownfield Forum and the National Quality Mark Scheme (NQMS).
Their Definition of Waste Code of Practice provides a clear, consistent and efficient process which enables the reuse of excavated materials on-site or their movement between sites and supports the sustainable and cost-effective development of land.
Past economic activities have left the UK with a substantial legacy of land from past industrial, mining and waste disposal activities, which could be as much as 50,000 and 100,000 potentially contaminated sites, affecting over 300,000 hectares of land. Not addressed, this contamination can pose unacceptable risks to both people and the environment.
Although standards in the contaminated land sector have improved greatly over the last two decades, there remained work to be done to ensure a more consistent quality of gas protection design, installation and verification. Installers and verifiers have now come together to develop the Scheme to improve verification and increase the knowledge of staff involved in this industry.
By ‘getting it right first time’ time consuming repairs can be avoided and help demonstrate to a suitably qualified person (SQP) under the NQMS for land contamination management that the gas protection verification work has been undertaken by competent personnel.
The GPVS is designed to provide all stakeholders involved in land contamination management with enough confidence that risks associated with ground gases have been adequately managed.
There are two separate accreditation routes available to demonstrate competence: ‘Specialist in Gas Protection Verification’ (SGPV) and ‘Technician in Gas Protection Verification’ (TGPV). This ensures that the gas verification part of land contamination management meets the necessary technical and regulatory standards.
The specific aims of the Scheme are:
a) Increase the knowledge of gas mitigation verification across the industry
b) Provide a list of competent individuals to design the gas protection measures, prepare method statements, undertake the inspection of gas protection measures and prepare the verification reports
c) Complement the NQMS by providing a process by which competency in gas protection verification can be demonstrated.
From 7th January, reports prepared under the scheme can bear a Declaration of Document Adequacy, to show that the work has been prepared in line with industry standards and signed off by an SGPV.
A register of all SGPVs and the documents they have prepared under the scheme is available for cross-checking. The SGPV accreditation is also recognised under the Construction Skills Certification Scheme.
FCI fully supports the rollout of the scheme as an important safeguard and elevation of land contamination management and gas verification standards across the UK.
Landfill gas is a major hazard for existing properties in the vicinity of an old waste site, especially when combined with former mining activity, such as the famous Loscoe tragedy we included in a recent blog. It also presents challenges for redevelopment sites adjacent or on contaminated land if the remediation, such as a membrane, is not to a sufficient standard.
Our recent blog of the new-build development in Bradford showed how poor remediation and planning controls between contractors, developers and the Local Authority, led to many of the properties receiving zero valuations, rendering them worthless and pushing residents into limbo with potential lengthy litigation.
We welcome the new verification standards and working with practitioners to understand site specific issues. A commercial or redevelopment site environmental report or walkover by our consultancy team could highlight the potential for landfill gas emissions and this could indicate a requirement for management or remediation.
If future gas protection measures have been designed and verified by a Suitably Qualified Person under the CL:AIRE GPVS, their report could assist in revising our professional opinion and keeping the land transaction moving.
CL:AIRE is running a free webinar providing further information on the scheme is available on 21st January 2021 @ 12.30pm. Book your place by registering at the following the link: https://event.webinarjam.com/register/1/40qx6ux
See more details on FCI’s consultancy approach to commercial sites with our fixed fee appraisals and site walkovers
To take advantage of a trial free order of your first environmental report, please complete the enquiry form and we will get back to you as soon as possible. We will need to take more details of the property or site and ask some more questions about your firm and the transaction.