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The University of Southampton

Environmental research wins prestigious waste management award

Published: 18 November 2015
Award winners
(l-r) Steve Lee from CIWM, Dr Chris Wilson, Simon Kemp, Professor Ian Williams and Nick Hewer

Southampton academics have won a prestigious environmental award at the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) Sustainability & Resource Awards 2015.

The Awards recognise and reward successful initiatives designed to reduce environmental impact and improve resource efficiency.

The Waste Regulation Award was presented to Professor Ian Williams , Head of the University’s Centre for Environmental Sciences , Professor Simon Kemp , Principal Teaching Fellow and Chair of the University Sustainability Action programme, and former PhD student Dr Chris Wilson (now independent consultant) for their paper entitled ‘Environmental (waste) compliance control systems for UK SMEs’.

The study evaluated potential improvements to compliance controls for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), particularly those involved in the waste sector. It showed that compliance with permitting legislation was poor in many areas and that regulatory authorities are either unable/failing to implement their enforcement policies or are unable/failing to identify non-compliances due to the infrequency or limited nature of their inspections.

This is the third time in five years that the three academics have won this award category, and the fourth time in five years that Professor Williams has won this award.

Professor Williams said: “I’m delighted that the CIWM has decided to recognise our research with the Waste Regulation Award. SMEs are extremely important to Europe’s economy. Waste SMEs typically have to comply with more legislation than the average business, as well as having to operate more complex sites where there is more ‘likelihood’ of a breach occurring. With extreme pressure on resources, many SMEs are ‘unconsciously incompliant’ with legislation and have a long way to go to be ‘unconsciously compliant’. We’re pleased that our study has flagged this issue to the waste sector and the regulators so that action can be taken to assist SMEs to facilitate environmental improvements alongside their core business.”

Hosted by Nick Hewer, presenter of Countdown and Alan Sugar’s former right-hand man on The Apprentice, 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.

“Knowledge, competence and professionalism are critical to maintain progress on waste and resource management, both here in the UK and across the world,” said CIWM chief executive Steve Lee. “As well as setting an example to other professionals in the sector, these winners have made a significant contribution to improving understanding and developing solutions to a range of waste and resource management challenges.”

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