The government will have to build up to 2300 waste treatment plants by 2020 to cope with Britain's growing rubbish mountain, according to the Institution of Civil Engineers.
The ICE says 1500 to 2300 facilities to treat, recycle and dispose of waste will be needed to meet the requirements of the European Union landfill directive.

If the plants are not built to meet this deadline the government could be fined £185m a year by the EU for continuing to use landfills.

The ICE blamed a combination of government procrastinating, public unease and industry nervousness for the slow delivery of waste treatment plants.

Nigel Mattravers, vice-chairman of the ICE waste management board, said that multidisciplinary contractors ought to be using their construction expertise to help build £100m integrated waste management plants.

Mattravers said,"There is an opportunity for contractors to produce not just a shed, but to add value and deliver the whole process."

The ICE estimated that £30bn must be spent on waste treatment plants by 2020, which would lead to the creation of 8000 jobs. Mattravers said many projects were being held up by planners because of public opposition to such schemes.

He added that the government needed to work harder at explaining the issues. He said: "We need to persuade the public that modern waste facilities can be good neighbours, and that waste should be treated where you live."

n Kier Construction has won a £10m project to construct the infrastructure and buildings for the UK's first biological recycling and recovery facility. It is being built for the Shanks Group on a brownfield site next to the River Thames in Rainham, Essex. When it is operational, the facility will help to dispose of more than 535,000 tonnes of waste.

The project forms part of a larger development which will involve the construction of a sister plant nearby. Mouchel Parkman is providing it with a range of consultancy services.