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Hirers avoid £32m cost of replacing diesel tanks

PLANT Clarification of forthcoming EU law reveals existing equipment can still be used

PLANT hirers have avoided a £32 million cost arising from new European diesel laws.

The Health and Safety Executive had estimated that hirers would have to replace all their fuel bowsers to comply with the European Agreement on the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR).

But John Varcoe, training, safety and technical manager at the Construction Plant-hire Association, said that further CPA investigations into the detail of the regulations had revealed that existing tanks and bowsers should be able to be used until the end of their normal working life.

The regulations reclassify diesel as a dangerous substance and firms could have faced paying for new plant alongside inspections and driver training to comply with the new standards. It is also likely that equipment purchased in the past year will comply with the new requirements. Mr Varcoe suggested hirers could remount existing bowsers on new trailers to comply with the agreement.

Following lobbying by the CPA, the Construction Industry Training Board agreed to grant-aided status to one-day courses, including the ADR drivers qualification.

But hirers still face problems with the new law. They will still have to pay for the services of a dangerous goods safety adviser and a new testing regime will come into effect, inevitably bringing more paperwork in its wake.

'Availability of suitably qualified testers could be a problem, and then there are the costs of testing, ' said Mr Varcoe.