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Equipment groups warn of 'impractical' dust regs

PLANT London authorities' code of practice proposes strict controls of plant and the paving of haul roads

CONTRACTORS have been warned that a series of environmental measures being proposed for London will affect all those working with equipment on site in the region.

The Association of London Government's draft code of practice for London's local authorities ? The Control of Dust from Construction Sites ? calls for a strict enforcement policy in a bid to cut dust emissions.

The association maintains that, in order to improve air quality, it must demand measures beyond anything seen so far in general construction.

Plant hirers and manufacturers were meeting as Construction News went to press to see how they might fight some of the most drastic requirements, which include fitting filters to all plant engines and using low-sulphur fuel on all plant.

The code of practice, which the association wants to enforce in the same way as planning guidance, is likely to affect high-profile sites from next January but the intention is to roll it out to all London authority sites. Among the requirements the association proposes are:

paving all major site haul roads;

appointment of a pollution officer to every site;

a ban on vehicles left idling unnecessarily;

elimination of the use of diesel or petrol-powered generators.

The code requires sites to write a full environmental risk assessment and method statement, which will include an inventory of all plant to be used, covering age and emissions technology, along with details of any fuel stored on site.

The code also calls for a series of dust control measures, ranging from daily wet sweeping of all roads to labelling all vehicles and recording all machines entering and leaving a site and any exceptional incidents. It also proposes a strict washing regime.

The draft code says: 'For sites at lower risk of dust this may involve wheel washing but, for the higher-risk site, total vehicle washing and a method to t icket veh icles is likely to be required.' Crushing equipment and cutting, grinding and sawing tools also have special requirements imposed on them.

The code says about the latter:

'Ideally these types of activities should not be conducted on site and prefabricated materials should be brought in.' Plant groups have warned that the demands are impractical, especially those for engine filters to be fitted and low-sulphur white diesel to be used by January 1 next year. Tim Faithfull of the Construction Equipment Association said: 'It is massively complex and we have been advised that each different machine is likely to require a different after-treatment solution.' The Construction Plant-hire Association warned that contractors would ultimately have to shoulder prohibitive costs if the code of pract ice is not mod if ied.

Chief executive Colin Wood said: 'Low-sulphur red diesel will not be available for the foreseeable future, leaving contractors to pick up the tripled cost of full-priced diesel filters. These, even if they can be fitted, will be hugely expensive.' He added: 'There are European deadlines already in place for engine emissions and the ALG wants to jump the gun. This is not joined-up government.'