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Southampton environmental research wins prestigious CIWM Professional Award

Published: 
12 November 2013

Three University of Southampton academics have won a prestigious environmental award at the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) Professional Awards, which celebrate professionalism, skills and knowledge right across the spectrum of waste and resource management.

The Waste Regulation Award was presented to Professor Ian Williams, Head of the University’s Centre for Environmental Sciences, Simon Kemp, Principal Teaching Fellow and Chair of the University Sustainability Action programme, and PhD student Dr Chris Wilson (now working for RBS Mentor Services) for their paper entitled ‘An evaluation of the impact and effectiveness of environmental legislation in SMEs: experiences from the UK’.

The study showed that a large number of SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) don’t understand anything about compliance with environmental legislation. Worryingly, the authors also demonstrated that SMEs do not understand their environmental responsibilities completely and what they do understand they haven’t understood for long.

This is the second time in three years that the three academics have won this award category following their prize in 2010.

Professor Williams said: “With SMEs accounting for 99.7 per cent of the 4.7 million UK businesses, 47.5 per cent of employment and 48.7 per cent of turnover, they are extremely important to the UK economy. However, they can have a huge collective impact on the environment, causing up to 80 per cent of environmental incidents. We have to find a way to reduce the substantial administrative burden on SMEs, whilst recognising that effective environmental protection can only occur if businesses comply with their legal obligations.”

Simon Kemp added: “We know that following the worldwide economic crisis, budgets for regulatory authorities have been restricted and resources stretched. Whilst we realise that there remains a need to balance financial restrictions with environmental protection, inspections and audits need to remain a key part of regulators’ enforcement strategies.”

Hosted by TV presenter Michaela Strachan, famous for BBC's Countryfile and Springwatch programmes among others, the awards ceremony at the London Marriott Grosvenor Square Hotel brought recent graduates and experienced waste managers alike to the podium to be rewarded for a range of research and dissemination achievements.

“This is an important opportunity to reward endeavour and professionalism in our sector,” said CIWM chief executive Steve Lee. “These CIWM members have shown themselves to be committed to developing their knowledge and skills and sharing them to the benefit of the industry as a whole - activities that reflect the core remit of the Institution.”

 

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