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Olympic work threatened by emission rules

Hirers warn that diesel particulate filter scheme is in chaos

Olympic jobs could struggle to find enough plant that complies with London’s strict emissions legislation, the Construction Plant-hire Association has warned.

The CPA and the Greater London Authority are in a dispute over the implications of the GLA’s recently introduced best practice guide covering construction sites.

The warning came at a CPA crane hire meeting last week, ahead of a crisis meeting with the Greater London Assembly this week.

CPA chief executive Colin Wood said plant owners may not think it worth the risk to make their fleet compliant with GLA demands.

He said: “I think members should think long and hard if they want to work on these sites since the cost may be prohibitive. That will be a commercial decision.”

The CPA has been tussling for months with the GLA to ensure that the guide does not create unworkable demands and punitive costs for plant hirers.

Among its recommendations, the guidance says local authorities, when granting planning permission, should insist that all plant diesel engines over 37 kW should be fitted with an approved after-treatment system, such as a diesel particulate filter.

The CPA argues that the guidance’s demands to fit the filters, which can cost up to £12,000 a time, are not practical for a lot of plant, because filters can interfere with engine performance, can impede visibility and can get so hot they are a safety risk.

The Association meets the GLA and the Energy Saving Trust this week in a final bid to resolve what plant can feasibly be made compliant.

The Energy Saving Trust has been given the job of producing the list of approved after-treatment systems as well as an eligible machinery list.

But the CPA said it has taken nine months to get to the point of having the meeting, let alone reach a satisfactory conclusion.

CPA technical manager John Varcoe told crane bosses last week that the planned November date for having filters fitted was inevitably bound to slip further because the whole scheme was still in chaos.

He advised plant owners not to start fitting filters until the EST had published the eligible machinery list. He said: “They probably don’t even understand the practical problems.”

Additional reporting by Phil Bishop