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Importers of 'grey' equipment risk prosecution under emissions laws

PLANT 2005 CONFERENCE

ANYONE importing 'grey'machines that do not conform to EU emissions or noise legislation risks prosecution by the Environment Agency as well as the HSE, the Construction Equipment Association warned the Plant 2005 conference.

The CEA has long fought to have noncompliant machines banned from the UK as they do not conform to Europe's strict safety laws. But the CEA's Tim Faithfull warned Plant 2005 delegates that machines built outside the EU that have not been CE marked will fail a number of other measures too.

He said: 'It is extremely unlikely that these machines will meet EU noise, emissions or safety requirements, so it is not just the HSE, but the wrath of the DTI or the Environment Agency you should fear too.'

He added that strict emissions rules on London construction sites proposed by the Greater London Authority-backed clean air body, Precis, could not be met by grey imports.

Mr Faithfull warned all owners of plant that the noise emitted by a range of construction equipment, from compressors to excavators, will also have to be significantly reduced to meet new EU legislation.

Stage II of the outdoor machinery directive comes into force on January 1,2006.

It requires a three decibel reduction in the current maximum noise limit and the noise level to be displayed on a label on the machine.

Mr Faithful said: 'A three decibel reduction means a 50 per cent cut in the sound power from the source.

'This can be achieved with silencers, insulating material and redesign of the cooling fans.

'But it is incompatible with many of the measures required to reduce exhaust emissions, which by their nature create more noise.We are still trying to get concessions on the noise limits for certain machines in time for January but the measures will require engine and machine redesigns, and that will be costly.'