The cost of disposing hazardous waste could triple when the European Landfill Directive is brought in this month, industry experts have warned.

The landfill directive will reserve most sites for non-hazardous waste, meaning that the number of hazardous waste sites in the country will fall from 250 to 30.

Sue Innes, director of sustainability at Constructing Excellence, estimated that the price of shipping waste to the remaining sites would push up costs.

She said: “There will be increased transport costs, because distances to site may be three times more.”

Firms running the sites could also raise prices due to the increased demand, she added.

Further legislation due next year will broaden the classification of hazardous waste. Materials such as plasterboard will be reclassified, because chips in the board react with landfill chemicals to create sulphur dioxide.

The news comes as construction minister Nigel Griffiths launched a code of practice that sets out how contractors should manage waste.

The government is keen for projects to have site-waste management and risk assessments in place before they start.

This could prevent the industry wasting 13 million tonnes of unused materials each year, which is caused by over-ordering.