AN UPSWING in the UK remediation sector during 2004 saw business increase 8% to £939M, according to the latest Market & Business Development (MBD) report.
The report, UK Contaminated Land Treatment Market Development, compares this with growth of 11% over the preceding three years.
It attributes the rise to a buoyant construction market and government planning policy that puts increased emphasis on the redevelopment of brownfield sites.
Enviros director Hugh Mallett said the 2004 growth figure sounded about right: 'It probably mirrors our increase in staff numbers in that area, ' he said.
Land assessment increased 9% last year, slightly ahead of land treatment, which the report said was partly because of the former's lower cost. The treatment market rose by 7% to £587.4M, but this still represented a nominal growth of 18% compared with 2000.
Vertase director Clive Barnwell said: 'There's an increased level of confidence due to people having a better understanding of the processes involved.' Dig and dump remains the most important sector, growing by 7% to £449.2M last year despite increases in landfill costs. This represents an overall increase of 15% compared with 2000. However the market share of this technique fell slightly from 79% to an estimated 76% over the same period.
Containment rose 27% during the last four years to reach £34.4M.
But some areas declined during this period. Contaminant stabilisation by solidification is thought to have dipped by 8% to £7.1M in 2004 - a decline of 7% compared with 2000. The market for thermal treatment also appears to have shrunk - from £3.5M four years ago to an estimated £3.1M last year.
Mallett said: 'Thermal [treatment] has never been a popular method here; it's costly and is used where other treatments can't be, which is reasonably rare. But I'm surprised that solidification is [recorded as] going down.' The assessment and treatment market is expected to show real term growth of 9% between 2005 and 2009. This is anticipated on the back of continued buoyancy in construction and legislative changes increasing brownfield development.
Barnwell said: 'I would be surprised if there was any slowdown. I would think the rate of growth will stay the same or increase without a spectacular shift in the market.'