The Environment Agency is to shed 80% of the contractors working for it as part of a major procurement shake up.
Under new five year framework contracts, expected next year, the Agency is planning to reduce the number of contractors engaged on its projects from around 50 to no more than 10.
The move is part of a drive to establish a national procurement strategy.
Until now the Agency's eight regional offices have been responsible for buying in their own engineering design and construction services.
The Agency said it was considering framework agreements of the kind used by airports operator BAA, and prime contracting - a 'one stop shop' procurement route pioneered by Ministry of Defence construction and property arm Defence Estates.