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CPD for contaminated land risk

Chris Evans says CPD is vital to his business and welcomes the formation of a Contaminated Land Group.

jkhgMy primary job is to be distinct from the range of ‘consultants’ available to clients - who in my case are predominantly small builders.  In order to adequately address the growing requirements of contaminated land risk assessment, alongside the tightest budgets in civil engineering, I need to keep up good CPD - such as the latest regulatory requirements - as well as wielding the sharpest of quotation pencils.

Small builders are 12% of house developers, and the only organisations that can, or will, develop old garages, single-tank fuel stations or minor brownfield sites.  Such plots are too cumbersome or piecemeal for larger developers and no local authority these days would have the means to consider them.


How delighted I was, therefore, to hear the presentation that Anne Barker gave to the Yorkshire Regional Group in May.  This interesting talk outlined the progress of contaminated land risk-assessment throughout her career as a senior Contaminated Land Officer.  Then again, how distressed I was to find that there are potential moves afoot to remove the current planning requirements from larger developers.  In the first case, why undermine what has become the beginning of an accepted risk assessment method? In the second case, cynically I believe any changes would be funded by those still left in the system. 

What a fine example of CPD this talk was.  All credit to Anne as a regulator, for openly describing the need to overhaul current guidelines, including industry profiles.  I and so many others share a view that our industry needs training, if only to be fully aware of the potential unknowns which are of course the very core of good risk-assessment.


Going back to my valuable clients, the principal tool I have to develop our client base is trust.  Yes, I am comfortable telling a client I am acquainted with a named contaminated-land officer, or time after time persevering to gain the funding for a Desk Study in addition to the Ground Investigation required by the planning condition.  Yes, I know you can’t properly do one without the other, but try telling a small builder that, especially if he has a list of ‘consultants’ who believe they can!

All power to the Geological Society for forming a Contaminated Land Group that, if nothing else, should be able to provide good CPD - most especially if this can lead to further and better development of appropriate guidelines and thereby client trust. 

Finally, the personal cost of all of this CPD can be prohibitive; but I intend to fund travel and new courses by relinquishing other professional memberships - in my case, my CEng status.  For those with several charterships who also struggle to finance their career, it is my view that the Geolsoc remains ahead of the game.  Hopefully the continued development of the CGeol title will be more than enough to satisfy all regulators.

*Christopher Evans BSc MSc FGS CGeol CEng (for the moment) E: