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Batched on Site Association holds AGM as industry decision moves closer

The Batched on Site Association this month held its Annual General Meeting, which was attended by 65+ members and also saw a number of new members join.

Now in its tenth year, the Batched on Site Association (BSA) was set up to represent the interests of operators of Mobile Batching Plants (MBP) throughout the UK. In more recent years, new industry regulations have moved closer and the association has worked with the Department for Transport (DfT) and other government bodies to advise on best practice solutions for safety and commercial regulation.

After many years of consultation a decision on a new set of industry regulations is now very close to being announced, and the latest industry AGM was attended by Duncan Price of the Department for Transport. Price delivered a presentation and took questions from the floor, as his session was well received by the group.

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Chris Smith, Managing Director of Mixamate and Chairman of the Batched on Site Association, said: “We’d like to thank all of the members who took the time to attend the meeting, and Duncan Price for his presentation. There is now a huge amount of enthusiasm amongst the sector and the 2017 AGM has undoubtedly been one of the most constructive we have ever held. I think that all members now have a much better grasp of some of the regulation updates that are likely to occur in 2018, and of course we remain in consultation with the DfT between now and then on any further amendments that need to be made.”

The Association now expects a formal decision regarding the future regulation of the Mobile Batching Plant industry to be announced at some point in the first half of 2018 by Jesse Norman MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and a Minister for the Department for Transport. 

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Easymix Concrete displays credentials at British Museum

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Batched on Site member, Easymix Concrete Ltd., recently completed a job at the British Museum in Holborn, London.

The unique pour was to install poured footings with anti-terrorist bollards mounted in concrete into the area surrounding the building. The permanent bollards were positioned in front of the main entrance to the Museum, and are designed to introduce an extra layer of security for those in attendance on a daily basis.

The whole job required 16 cubic metres of concrete and took 2 machines to complete it. The work was carried out early in the morning with a 5am start to avoid the heavy London traffic. The machines remained static on-site while the materials were administered, again highlighting the unique flexibility of Mobile Batching Plants to deliver materials directly on site from truck to trench.

The bollards will ensure greater safety for all visitors to the Museum in a time of heightened security in the UK due to terrorist threats. The entire job was carried out with minimum disruption to the museum and its visitors, ensuring materials could be administered easily in and out.  


Government decision awaits £210m industry in early 2016

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The Batched on Site Association (BSA) expects the UK Government to rule on proposed legislative changes to the sector in early 2016. The proposed changes include a plan to impose a 32 tonne maximum weight limit on Mobile Batching Plants, which has been strongly opposed by the BSA.

Competition concerns
Last year an independent report by Regeneris Consulting found that the volumetric industry is worth £210m per year to the UK economy, accounting for an estimated 3,150 jobs. There are fears that a move away from design weight could severely restrict the operating capabilities of Mobile Batching Plants, giving large multinational readymix companies a monopoly over the sector.

“Mobile Batching Plants are unique machines that spend the majority of their day stationary on site delivering materials,” said Chris Smith, Chairman of the Batched on Site Association. “Often, there is simply no other way to get this sort of site access for materials. These machines are specially designed to provide that, having been manufactured to accommodate the sophisticated machinery required to deliver mix on site materials. They are currently allowed to operate at design weight, which is generally around 42 tonnes, and any impositions to restrict that further would severely impede their ability to operate and effectively hand this sector of the industry over to the big readymix companies.”

Not a safety issue
The BSA has emphasised that the proposed weight changes do not refer to safety concerns. Jared Dunbar, National Co-ordinator for the Batched on Site Association added:

“This is not a safety issue as the vehicles are specially manufactured to operate at higher weights than HGVs and have suspension, tyres and brakes which are designed to carry the weight of the complex volumetric body. At our recent AGM, members were advised that the BSA had supported the majority of the proposed Government changes which would bring about improvements in safety levels including regular testing, examination and greater regulation.”

The Association prepared its own industry charter in 2013, which has been regularly updated. It has been working in close consultation with the Department for Transport throughout 2015, and held its final consultation with the department in November. A decision on all new legislation updates is expected at the beginning of 2016. 


The importance of mobile batching plants

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With the winter weather upon is, it’s worth remembering the damage and danger caused last year by sinkholes, as well as the crucial part that Mobile Batching Plants play in repairing them quickly and safely.

Already this year a huge sinkhole has opened up in St. Albans in the South East of the country, as reported last month by the BBC. The 20m diameter hole spread across driveways and left 50 homes without power. To tackle this emergency job the local council called upon the special capabilities of volumetric mixers, who pumped around 520 cubic metres of quick drying concrete into the hole immediately to repair the street.

This sort of emergency work can only be tackled so swiftly and efficiently by volumetric machines, due to their nimble chassis’, flexible working style, and their ability to mix and deliver materials such as concrete directly from truck to trench. In this instance the Easymix machines were able to arrive on the scene quickly and repair work was safely carried out.

It’s another good example of the good work done by Mobile Batching plants on UK roads, especially where turnaround time needs to be fast and flexible. Without this type of technology, the risk is that this sort of emergency work will be much more expensive for Council Tax payers, or even worse conducted in a way that is less safe or effective.

It’s worth remembering the unique part that this machinery plays in the construction ecosystem, and the importance of maintaining its presence on UK sites. 


Batched on Site Association Featured in Concrete Magazine

The Batched on Site Association was last month featured in Concrete Magazine, as the story surrounding the Government’s proposed legislative changes to the sector heats up.

In his opening column the Magazine’s Editor, James Luckey, spoke about the fine line to be had between regulation and killing off competition, as reducing the overall weight limit of volumetric machines would surely hand an advantage to the Industry’s major ready mix concrete suppliers.

In a separate article within the same issue of the magazine, Chris Smith, Chairman of the Batched on Site Association said:

“We have serious concerns about the Government’s current consideration to reduce the operating weight of these machines to 32 tonnes. This would significantly reduce capabilities to the point of putting the majority of operators out of business, threatening a £210m sector of the UK economy that has grown even in spite of the economy and accounts for an estimated 3,150 jobs.”

An online version of James Luckey’s commentary on the story can be read here

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BSA Featured in Quarry Management Magazine

Batched on Site Association Chairman and Mixamate Managing Director, Chris Smith, spoke to Quarry Management Magazine this month, about the proposed weight limit that the UK Government is considering imposing on Volumetric machines. 

The proposed changes come as part of wider industry legislation governing the mobile batching plant sector, for which the Batched on Site Association acts as a self-regulatory body working in close communication with Government to maintain the interests of, and promote high standards within, the batched on site sector. 
 
As Chairman of the Batched on Site Association, Chris has been keen to point out the industry impacts that lowering the weight limit of these unique set of vehicles could have, particularly on industry employment and productivity: 
 
“The BSA works in close consultation with the Department for Transport to improve the safety, service and environmental footprint of the sector. However, we have serious concerns about the Government’s current consideration to reduce the operating weight of these machines to 32 tonnes. This would significantly reduce the capabilities to the point of putting the majority of operators out of business, threatening a £210m sector of the UK economy that has grown even in-spite of the recession, and currently accounts for an estimated 3,150 jobs.”
 
Last month Chris met to discuss the issue with local MP, Kate Osamor, who visited the Mixamate offices. The BSA recently wrote to the new Minister for Transport, Andrew Jones, who has responded by setting up a meeting with the organisation in September.
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BSA Chairman Meets with Kate Osamor

Last week Mixamate Managing Director, Chris Smith, was visited by the Labour MP for Edmonton, Kate Osamor, who visited members of the Mixamate team out on site and sat down to discuss the proposed Government legislative changes affecting the entire Batched on Site industry.  

In addition to being Managing Director of Mixamate, Chris is also the Chairman of the Batched on Site Association (BSA), which was set up in 2007 to help protect the interests of Volumetric operators and maintain industry standards. The Association recently warned that up to 3,150 jobs could be lost in the UK Construction sector if new Government legislation is introduced. The sector accounts for approximately 10% of the 21.7m m3 wet concrete market in the UK, and is worth an annual £210m to the UK economy.

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The BSA recently wrote to the new Minister for Transport, Andrew Jones, who has responded by setting up a meeting with the organisation in September. The Association has voiced its concerns over certain aspects of the proposed changes, and continues to work closely with Government bodies and other Associations to help ensure that the best interests of the entire industry are maintained. 


New Government Legislation Could Cut 3,000 Construction Sector Jobs

The Batched on Site Association (BSA) today confirmed that up to 3,150 jobs could be lost in the UK Construction sector, if new Government legislation is introduced. The proposed policy change includes the implementation of a maximum 32 tonne operating weight limit to all Volumetric concrete machines, which would significantly impact on Operators’ ability to service the industry at current levels.

A £210m Industry
Volumetric machines are operated across the UK by independent operators and large multinational readymix companies. An industry report published earlier this year by Regeneris Consulting found that the Volumetric sector is worth an annual £210m to the UK economy, and creates an estimated 3,150 jobs through direct employment, supply chain, wage expenditure, etc. The sector accounts for approximately 10% of the 21.7m m3 wet concrete market in the UK.

Changing Technology
During the past 5 years the concrete industry has undergone considerable change, with increasing demand for Volumetrics. Multinational readymix companies are expanding their fleets of Volumetric machines, while 87% of independent Volumetric operators have experienced turnover growth in the past five years, and 93% expect turnover to grow over the next five years.

Mobile Batching Plants (MBPs), or ‘Volumetrics’ as they are colloquially known, spend the majority of their working day stationary on site mixing fresh concrete. This requires sophisticated on-board machinery and specially designed chassis that have previously been taken into account by the Department for Transport’s regulations, allowing MBPs to operate at design weight, which is typically 42 tonnes.

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The Batched on Site Association has serious concerns that a reduction to a 32 tonne weight limit would deeply impact the output of the sector, increasing operating costs, reducing productivity, and ultimately incurring heavy sector losses and job cuts in predominantly small, privately owned UK businesses.

“The Batched on Site Association works in close consultation with the Department for Transport to constantly improve the safety, service, and environmental footprint of the sector,” said Chris Smith, Chairman of the Batched on Site Association. “However, we have serious concerns about the Government’s current consideration to reduce the operating weight of these machines to 32 tonnes. This would significantly reduce capabilities to the point of putting the majority of operators out of business, threatening a £210m sector of the UK economy that has grown even in-spite of the recession, and currently accounts for an estimated 3,150 jobs. We welcome the proposal to improve the safety of the sector by implementing mandatory annual tests and routine inspections, something which the BSA’s members have been voluntarily carrying out.”

The Batched on Site Association launched its own Charter in 2014, aimed at ensuring greater standards within the industry and including initiatives such as recommending voluntary roadworthiness testing and regular maintenance inspections, and implementing significant steps to help improve the safety of vulnerable road users, such as requiring BSA Members to include underrun bars for the protection of cyclists.


Batched on Site Association Writes to New Transport Minister

The Batched on Site Association (BSA) this week announced that it had written to the new Minister for Transport, Andrew Jones, for a response on the proposed legislative changes that are due to take place in the concrete industry.

The Batched on Site Association first approached Parliament 7 years ago, for help in its self-regulation process of the Batched on Site sector, which is currently worth an estimated £270m per annum to the UK economy. Since then, talks have been on-going between the Department for Transport and the BSA, who maintained a strong working relationship with the previous Minister for Transport, Claire Perry.

With the formation of a new Government last month and undoubtedly a new set of priorities for the Department, the Association was keen to ensure that its case remains at the forefront of the legislative agenda.

The BSA welcomes some of the changes proposed by the Department, accepts others, and in very specific circumstances is requesting the amendment of certain clauses in order to represent the interests of its Members, and protect competition in the concrete industry at large.

For more information on our new Industry Charter click here


Batched on Site Association Featured in Global Magazine of the Concrete Society

The Batched on Site Association is this month featured in Concrete Magazine, the Global magazine of the Concrete Society. 

As the industry debate surrounding the regulation of Batched on Site vehicles continues, the Chairman of the Batched on Site Association, Chris Smith, gives his view on the Association's new Industry Charter: 

"The mobile batching plant sector has come together to promote high standards of operation and safety in our area of the industry, laying down a clear marker."

The Batched on Site Association has received wide media attention in recent months, as the self-regulating body acts to bring the industry together to promote high levels of safety and accountability. Earlier this year Chris met with Andy Love, Labour Co-op Member of Parliament for Edmonton since 1997, to discuss the promotion of sensible regulation and safety in the building industry. 

The new charter, which was originally handed out to BSA Members earlier this year, represents an evolution of the Association's original Code of Practice, which has been maintained and updated since the BSA's formation in 2007. For further information on the Batched on Site Association click here.  

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Batched on Site Association Featured in Agg-Net News

The Batched on Site Association (BSA) was this week featured in Agg-Net news, the leading industry publication for the Aggregates and Recycling sectors. 

The report focussed on the Association's new Industry Charter, which was announced by the BSA earlier this week. It made up the lead story in the latest Agg-Net newsletter, as the issue around regulation within the Batched on Site sector gathers increased attention from all corners of the industry. 

In announcing the new Charter, Chris Smith, Managing Director of Mixamate and Chairman of the Batched on Site Association, said: 

“The Mobile Batching Plant sector has come together to promote high standards of operation and safety in our area of the industry,” said Smith. “Our new Industry Charter lays down a clear marker to those operating mobile batching plant vehicles, putting safety and accountability high on the agenda. We will continue working closely with our Members to evolve and improve safety standards within the industry, and the launch of our first official Charter marks a significant step in a move towards clearer guidelines.”

To read the article in full simply visit Agg-Net news here

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Batched on Site Association Announces Industry Charter

The Batched on Site Association today announced the launch of its first ever Industry Charter, including a Declaration of Adherence to be signed by all members. 

 
The Batched on Site Association (BSA) is the self-regulating body representing the UK’s Mobile Batching Plant operators, colloquially known as ‘volumetrics’. These vehicles provide a critical service to the UK Construction Sector, delivering on-site materials quickly, and flexibly, often to sites with limited access where other vehicles cannot get in. 
 
With 700+ volumetric trucks now in operation throughout the UK, the sector represents about 200 UK businesses and contributes approximately £170m to the UK economy.  
 
Transport Select Committee
Due to the specialist nature of Mobile Batching Plants, these vehicles operate outside a small number of regulations which apply to HGVs. With the intention to pro-actively increase road safety, the BSA has implemented a number of new obligations on its members. Earlier this year, the Association appeared before Parliament’s Transport Select Committee to discuss its contribution to improving the standards of cycling safety on Britain’s roads.  
 
The new Charter
The new Charter, which was originally handed out to BSA Members in May, represents an evolution of the Association’s original Code of Practice, which has been maintained and updated since the BSA’s formation in 2007. 
 
The Charter clearly sets out the legal status of volumetrics and provides good practice guidance in a number of areas including vehicle maintenance, safe loading, and driver training. It also provides specific guidelines on the introduction of under-run bars to increase cycle safety.
 
The Declaration, which all BSA Members must abide by, confirms that members will, amongst other requirements:
 
• Undertake regular maintenance safety inspections
• Daily pre-use inspections
• Will not operate vehicles over design weight
• Operatives will be HGV qualified and receive annual refresher training.
 
Chairman’s Comments
Chris Smith, Managing Director of Mixamate and Chairman of the Batched on Site Association, recently met with Andy Love, Labour Co-op Member of Parliament for Edmonton, to discuss sensible regulation and safety in the building and logistics industries: 
 
“The Mobile Batching Plant sector has come together to promote high standards of operation and safety in our area of the industry,” said Smith. “Our new Industry Charter lays down a clear marker to those operating mobile batching plant vehicles, putting safety and accountability high on the agenda. We will continue working closely with our Members to evolve and improve safety standards within the industry, and the launch of our first official Charter marks a significant step in a move towards clearer guidelines.”
 
About the Batched on Site Association
The BSA was established in 2007 with the objective of representing the interests of operators of Mobile Batching Plants (MBP). 
 
MBP machines come in a variety of specifications but their fundamental distinguishing characteristic is their ability to batch produce products such as screed, foam, ‘trench fill’, concrete, ‘cold tarmac’ and mortar on demand at the point of delivery.  As the products are batched on site the customer receives exactly the amounts they require, meaning zero waste. Multi drop routes can be scheduled, reducing the miles travelled. These characteristics distinguish the MBP from drum-mixer heavy goods vehicles that haul pre-mixed product from the batching plants to points of delivery. 
 
The Batched on Site Association is committed to promoting high industry standards and providing the latest information within the UK Mobile Batching Plant sector. For more information visit www.batchedonsite.org.

Andy Love MP Meets BSA Chairman, Chris Smith

On Friday the 4th July 2014, Andy Love MP, the Member of Parliament for Edmonton, attended the premises of Mixamate to discuss issues surrounding the potential changes to the regulation of Volumetrics. 

In what was a very positive meeting, Chris Smith highlighted to Andy Love the damage the proposed legislation changes could have on the sector and the construction industry at a time of economic recovery.  
 
Chris also made Mr Love aware of the BSA’s Declaration of Adherence and the BSA Charter which both set out the voluntary practices members undertake to increase safety around the operation of volumetrics.
 
After the meeting, Mr Love posted a message on twitter stating that he was “Talking with MD of local firm Mixamate.  Promoting sensible regulation & safety in the building industry.”
 
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BSA EGM Held in May

The BSA’s EGM took place in Cheshire on 14th May. Luckily the weather was fine which certainly facilitated the many companies who displayed outdoors.  

As well as the trade stands, there was a full day of seminars/workshops, including an excellent presentation given by John Dyne on the state of the volumetric industry.   At the main event which was convened to discuss the proposed changes in the law for volumetrics, the implications this had on the industry and what the BSA was doing to protect the interests of its members.  

The meeting was attended by over one hundred delegates and presentations were made by, amongst others, John Dyne (DSL), Chris Smith (Chairman of BSA) and Mark Kerr (PPS Group). 

You can view the full gallery of images from the event here

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BSA Shows Strong Presence at the UK Concrete Show

How many Volumetric Drivers does it take to man the BSA stand at the UK Concrete Show?  Not many if you have DSL as your secretariat!  

It’s an important time for volumetric operators at the moment with possible changes to testing, plating, and the possibility of coming within the Operator’s Licence regime, so DSL was happy to assist with the members by attending and speaking to potential new members.  The more members the BSA has the more influence it will have over the proposed consultations due to take place this year.

The event took place on the 27th and 28th February at the NEC.  Over the 2 days the team from DSL enjoyed talking to those involved in all aspects of concrete and in particular hearing the concerns of those involved with volumetrics.  The consensus among owners and manufacturers appeared to be that testing would be a good thing for the volumetric industry as most consider safety as paramount, with a large number of owners already regularly checking and servicing their volumetrics; some even have their vehicles tested regularly.


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 The main concern appeared to be whether there would be limits on weight.  Given that the vehicles are already heavy machines, a 32 tonne limit would mean that volumetric trucks would not be able carry the necessary materials to make the concrete and as such, would spell and end to many in the volumetric business.   The BSA is looking to lobby parliament on behalf of volumetric owners so that any changes in legislation mean that the industry is still able to carry on.  

Jared Dunbar commented “There are about 700 volumetric trucks in the country and if MOT testing is brought in without consideration of the 32 limit on weight then this would put many companies out of business.  It would also mean that the expensive machines they had invested money in would become worthless overnight.  We can’t allow this to happen and therefore it is imperative that DSL support the BSA in their fight to move to a safe but workable position.”   Jared Dunbar was also a key speaker on a panel discussion examining the growth of the use of volumetric trucks in the UK.

BSA Attends Transport Select Committee Meeting on Cycling Safety

On the 10th February 2014, Jared Dunbar and John Dyne attended the Transport Select Committee inquiry into Cycling Safety in the Thatcher Room, Portcullis House, London.  Originally invited as witnesses themselves alongside people such as Chris Boardman MBE, Alex Fiddes, Chief Operating Officer of Vehicle Testing and Enforcement at the DVSA and Peter Weddell-Hall, the head of e-assessment, training and accreditation at the DVSA, Jared and John instead provided advice to the three Batched on Site Association (BSA) committee members who gave evidence on behalf of the BSA. 

The Inquiry was recorded and shown live, in its entirety, on the internet and it is understood, in part, live on the BBC.  In addition to general cycling safety, the Volumetric sector (or mobile concrete batching plant) and their regulatory requirements was discussed.


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 Prior to the Inquiry, Jared and John had assisted in drafting a written position statement for the BSA setting out the benefits of Volumetrics and the regulatory requirements which fall upon them.  It was argued that Volumetrics are mobile plant and are subject to most of the law and regulations that apply to goods vehicles generally.  It was explained that the BSA’s Industry Code of Practice: The operation of Mobile Batching Plant provided further advice to operators on safe loading, regular pre-planned maintenance and safety inspection regime, amongst other things.  

 
The Inquiry was also informed that Volumetrics do not pose any additional or different risks for cyclists to those which arise from large vehicles.  However, it was agreed by the BSA that cycling safety is an important concern of the mobile batching plant industry.  The Inquiry was advised that operators and the BSA are promoting training and design improvements to improve safety.  
 
The inquiry was told that the ongoing debate as to whether the regulatory regimes for mobile plant, including volumetrics, should be changed has no bearing on cycle safety and that any regulatory change has to be considered against the government’s deregulation agenda, the desire to promote small and medium sized enterprises, the encouragement of competition (with more operators) and the growth agenda. 

BSA Releases Updated Code of Practice Manual

London UK, Friday 13 December 2013: The Batched on Site Association (BSA) – the trade association for the Mobile Batching Plant (MBP) industry – today released an updated edition of its Code of Practice Manual, aimed at increasing safety standards throughout the batched-on-site industry. 

With 500+ vehicles on the road, the batched-on-site sector accounts for 25% of the total concrete batching plant industry in the UK. The Batched on Site Association (BSA) was set-up in 2007 to help the MBP industry regulate the operation of these vehicles.  
 
Safety Enhancements
The update follows the Association’s AGM earlier this month, where the BSA Committee and its wider membership passed a motion to amend the current documentation. The updated edition of the BSA Code of Practice Manual has been specifically designed to increase the safety standards within the industry. 
 
With an increasing number of cyclists on Britain’s roads, particularly in London, the key change to the code of practice is the mandatory introduction of Under-Run bars to all Mobile Batching Plant vehicles, in-line with the current legislation for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs). These crucial safety additions are designed to protect cyclists and other road users from coming into contact with vehicle wheels in the eventuality of an accident.  
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Official Comment
BSA Chairman and Managing Director of Mixamate, Chris Smith, said: “On behalf of the entire Batched on Site Association, I am pleased to release the new and updated BSA Code of Practice. Since 2007, we have sought to regulate and represent the activities of the owners and operators of mobile batching plants. The new update to the Code of Practice has been specifically designed to bring the sector’s safety guidance up to date in light of the increasing number of cyclists on our roads, who need to be protected.”

 
The BSA meets on a quarterly basis to discuss the key points of the industry.  
 
About the Batched on Site Association
The BSA was established in 2007 with the objective of representing the interests of operators of Mobile Batching Plants (MBP). This characteristic distinguishes the MBP from drum-mixer heavy goods vehicles that haul pre-mixed product from the batching plants to points of delivery. The Batched on Site Association is committed to promoting high industry standards and providing the latest information within the UK Mobile Batching Plant sector, and you can view our latest newsletters, information, and technical documents on the resources section of our site.