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Waste disposal costs quadruple as law bites

THE COST of disposing of construction site waste has soared by up to four times within days of new European legislation coming into force.

Contractors contacted by NCE this week have reported waste disposal firms quoting figures up to four times those quoted as little as one week ago for similar work.

'We've just been quoted £685 to dispose of 2t of empty paint cans - three to four times the cost quoted last week, ' said Costain group health, safety and environmental director Peter Fisher.

Fisher added that half the cost quoted to dispose of waste from a road project near Oxford was to cover haulage to a hazardous waste disposal site in Cheltenham.

In accordance with the 1999 European Union (EU) Landfill Directive the co-disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous waste is illegal from 16 July.

At present only 12 waste disposal sites have licences to handle hazardous wastes, forcing waste disposal contractors to price in extra transport costs.

Landfill site operators had warned that the disposal cost for construction and demolition waste would increase from £30-40 per tonne to £70-90 per tonne (NCE 17 June).

But contractors this week hit out at the Environment Agency for providing insufficient guidance on how to prepare for the 'astronomical' cost hike.

The Environment Agency dismissed these claims. Operations director Paul Leinster said that the industry had known about the co-disposal ban since 1999.

It is now preparing for a clampdown on firms attempting to duck the ban by sending inspectors in to construction sites and waste facilities to check that construction waste such as asbestos and contaminated soil is separated and disposed of correctly.

Failure to comply with the codisposal ban carries a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment and an unlimited fine for anyone found responsible.

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