Increasing confidence in quality through industry accreditation schemes

January 31, 2021

RSK Associate Technical Director, Vivien Dent, was part of the panel for Environment Analyst’s latest Brownfield Intelligence Network online discussion, ‘Improving the Quality of Contaminated Land Reports to Increase Confidence in Risk Assessment & Remediation Proposals’.

The session, which took place on 19 January, discussed the recent increasing concerns around the quality of reports and the measures available to address this.

According to Environment Analyst, “there has been increasing concern recently around the quality of reports and information relating to the risk assessment and remediation of contaminated land, as well as the installation and verification of gas protection measures. As a result, it is felt that there is now a lack of confidence within the sector in these reports and their suitability when assessing, verifying and signing-off brownfield development projects.”

The session looked at the key areas of concern and the measures being proposed within the sector to address this, including reviewing the various industry accreditation schemes, their role and value in improving standards and restoring confidence, and how to improve buy-in to the schemes.

Ian Evans (Technical Director, Wood Group) acted as the moderator for the discussion and the other panellists were Alistair Dick (Environmental Lead, Groundsure) and Sarah Hamill (Contaminated Land Officer, West Dunbartonshire Council). In her role as panellist, Vivien also represented the Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists, for which she is currently chair of the contaminated land working group.

“The session brought up some important topics for discussion,” comments Vivien. “We spoke about the National Quality Mark Scheme (NQMS), of which RSK is a great supporter. The scheme acts as a benchmark of quality for submissions. If a report has been signed off by a Suitably Qualified Person under NQMS, you can be confident that it is of a high quality.

“This does not remove the requirement of the regulator to review submissions; it just means that by the time reports reach them they will be of a certain standard, which should make the process smoother.”

Attendees were predominantly consultants and local authorities, ranging from unchartered new starters through to directors and senior staff.

If you wish to hear a recording of this discussion, or find out more about other upcoming events, please contact Environment Analyst directly.