A European move to ban the use of tunnelling and formation grouts has been met with a chorus of protest from UK contractors and consultants.

Construction Confederation president Sir Martin Laing and chairman Alan Crane will head a delegation going to Brussels next week to lobby against the proposals. The European Parliament is considering a ban on the direct injection into ground water of "materials in suspension", which include bentonite and cement grouts commonly used in tunnelling and foundation work.

The Construction Industry Council, Federation of Piling Specialists, and the European Construction Industry Federation have also hit out against the proposals, which are designed to protect water quality.

CIC chief executive Graham Watts said: "The CIC strongly encourages and supports measures that protect the environment but, as in this case, green can sometimes be an excuse for utter nonsense." The CIC claims projects such as the Jubilee Line Extension and the reconstruction of the area around the Potzdamer Platz in Berlin would become prohibitively expensive or impossible to construct if direct injection was outlawed. Its ground forum predicted that construction costs could rise by as much as 30%.

The CIC encourages measures that protect the environment, but green can sometimes be an excuse for utter nonsense

Graham Watts, Chief Executive, CIC

The council's stance was echoed by the Brussels-based European Construction Industry Federation, which said a ban would be "catastrophic" for Europe's construction industry.

The federation has appealed to members of the European Parliament to throw out the measures.

Technical director John Goodall said: "We are vigorously lobbying to have the current proposals amended to ensure construction does not lose out." Brussels is understood to be considering allowing planning authorities to approve the use of the grouts as part of the planning process.