SoBRA – Accreditation Scheme Launched July 4th 2016

Article Contaminated Land by

The Society of Brownfield Risk Assessment (SoBRA) was established in 2009 to support the growing number of professionals working in land contamination risk assessment. It recently launched a new accreditation scheme to demonstrate competence as a land contamination risk assessor. This is a standalone scheme. However, the scheme presents an opportunity for its members to demonstrate to a Suitably Qualified Person (SQP), under the Land Forum’s upcoming National Quality Mark Scheme, that they are sufficiently competent to support the SQP in undertaking or reviewing the risk assessment element of their project. For the many members of the AGS interested in land contamination this a great opportunity to demonstrate competency recognition.

SoBRA is a learned society for individuals, with membership drawn from the private, public, voluntary and academic sectors.  Its goals are to improve technical knowledge in risk-based decision-making related to land contamination applications and to enhance the professional status and profile of practitioners.

Risk assessment is a critical element in the evaluation of land affected by contamination and provides the cornerstone for wider decision making in land management.  To date there has been no single industry-wide scheme to demonstrate competence as a risk assessor. The SoBRA Register of Risk Assessors has been developed to fill this gap, recognising and rewarding the technical skills associated with land contamination risk assessment.

Inclusion on the SoBRA Register of Risk Assessors will not demonstrate that an individual is an expert but will demonstrate that the individual possesses the technical, scientific and communications skills required to design, perform and critically evaluate land contamination risk assessments.  The scheme is focussed on the technical detail associated with risk assessments but also requires that applicants have a broader understanding of the context and impact of risk assessment on the management of land affected by contamination.

The SoBRA Register of Risk Assessors has two grades of membership to reflect an individual’s experience and skills.  The entry level is Registered Grade; individuals who are capable of undertaking and/or reviewing routine generic quantitative risk assessments without supervision but who are likely to need some assistance or guidance in conducting more complex risk assessments.  The advanced register entry will be the Fully Accredited Member Grade which would be someone with a thorough understanding of land contamination risk assessment, with experience of carrying out and/or reviewing more detailed and site specific risk assessments.  On admission to the register, individuals will be permitted to use the post-nominal signature designations of RSoBRA and ASoBRA respectively.

As many risk assessors have differing levels of experience in different practice areas such as human health risk assessment or assessing risks to water environment or ecological receptors, registration entries will be linked to their specific areas of competence.  In very broad terms the two grades have been designed to be consistent with the Level 3 and Level 4 of the SiLC Land Condition Skills Development Framework.

The application procedure will require the submission of written evidence to demonstrate competency, attested by referees and attendance at an interview.  There is also a strict requirement for all register entrants to maintain membership of a professional body and a requirement for those seeking the Fully Accredited Member Grade to be chartered.

The first tranche of applications are anticipated to be accepted from July to October 2016.  If you are interested in being included on the register, then please visit www.sobra.org.uk for full details on the application requirements and start gathering your evidence for your written submission!

Follow us also on LinkedIn, for the latest news on technical issues, workshops and updates. See also our summer workshop in Bristol upon Risk Assessment to support Historical Landfill Redevelopment or simply visit our Stand at Contamination EXPO 2016 to learn more!

For editorial comment and contact on this please contact the SoBRA executive committee at info@sobra.org.uk