A Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) provides the environmental management framework to be adhered to during the pre-commencement, construction and operational phases of a proposed development.  It incorporates the mitigating principles which will ensure that the project is completed in a way that minimises the potential for any environmental impacts to occur.

A CEMP will identify the key planning and environmental aspects that must be adhered to and delivered during site construction and operation.  It will thus serve as a reference guide for both the contractor and client as the project develops.  For example, a CEMP drawn up for a site that is close to a watercourse should identify all of the works operations that might affect this watercourse.  It should also include all of the measures that will need to be undertaken to ensure the protection of this watercourse.  Examples might include the construction of a earth bund that will encircle the works area and be effective as a means of preventing surface runoff to the watercourse.  The CEMP should also set out schedules for monitoring.  Again referring to a watercourse, a CEMP should set out a water sampling schedule including the location for where samples are to be taken, the frequency of sampling and what parameters are to be measured.

Crucially, a CEMP is drawn up before works commence. It is also extremely important that the CEMP is written by both the contractor and ecologist/environmental scientist who work together.  The CEMP might go through several versions, starting with an ‘Outline CEMP’ that identifies at an early stage the key processes of the proposed development and also the key ecological or environmental receptors that may be affected by works.  The CEMP will then be developed as an iterative process as the parameters of the project are defined in more detail.  The CEMP will remain a ‘live’ that may be updated and refined.  Circumstances where a CEMP might need to be updated could be where there arises a need to improve performance (e.g. more water sampling needed), when a works method statement needs to be amended or when an incident during operations occurs that may have an impact on the receiving environment.

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