Planning officials from Brighton and Hove won a regional prize at the Royal Town Planning Institute Planning Awards.
They received the accolade on home turf as the institute held its awards ceremony at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton on Wednesday (23 November).
The Planning for Business Award was given to the Brighton and Hove City Council planning team.
The team were recognised for their pilot project on construction waste and have now been shortlisted for a national award.
Amy Kennedy, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for planning, employment, economy and regeneration, said: “This is fantastic recognition of the hard work council officers have put in liaising with developers to reduce, reuse and recycle construction and demolition waste.
“The project doesn’t just highlight the importance of cutting waste and increasing recycling – it actually helps firms save money too, so it’s a win all round.”
The council was one of the first in the country to have a system in place for implementing new government regulations on site waste management plans.
The planning team set up a pilot project last year with funding from the South East Centre for the Built Environment.
Feedback from local construction companies suggested that they were making savings of about 1 per cent by reusing and recycling material.
If multiplied across the South East construction industry, the savings would total millions of pounds.
Local companies involved in recycling waste have also benefited.
In the past about a third of the construction waste from Brighton and Hove has gone to landfill sites.
By using site waste management plans the aim is to significantly increase the amount recycled and reused over the next ten years.
The pilot is being extended and Brighton and Hove’s planning officers are sharing their experience with other councils.
Councillor Kennedy added: “The aim of the pilot project was to get developers and construction companies thinking about how they are going to put their waste materials to good use right from the beginning of the planning process, not just as an afterthought once work is under way and waste materials are piling up.”
The council said that 1.2 million tonnes of construction and demolition waste is produced in Brighton and Hove and East Sussex each year. This is more than half of all the waste generated and enough to fill 120,000 skips.
Government regulations require all construction companies involved in developments worth more than £300,000 to have a site waste management plan to reduce, reuse and recycle their construction and demolition waste.
The council’s pilot project involved site visits, workshops, publicity and practical help to enable contractors and developers to meet the new requirements.