A NORTH-EAST construction and maintenance firm has been rewarded for its work that saved taxpayers £1.3m.

Hertel, based in Middlesbrough, has received a Nuclear Decommissioning Authority award for its services at Hinkley Point A, in Somerset.

The company separated more than 250 tons of asbestos waste for disposal, which was the completion of work to remove 2,100 tons of asbestos.

Bosses say the process helped site operator Magnox save £1.3m in disposal costs by reducing the amount of waste sent to a specialist facility in Cumbria.

Ray Butler, Hertel's Hinkley Point A site manager, said: “A specialist enclosure was built to deal with the waste in a controlled and safe manner, while segregating the waste for disposal.

“Removing the waste has cleared an area, which is now used for a project as part of the decommissioning of Hinkley Point A.”

Hertel works on a number of nuclear sites around the UK, including Sellafield and Hinkley Point A, and also works at oil refineries and chemical plants.

It employs more than 2,500 across the UK, with more than 1,000 staff based in the North-East, and has operations in Seal Sands, near Billingham, and Wynyard, near Stockton.

Earlier this year, it secured a three-year deal with Total UK, to carry out thermal insulation and painting work on the Lindsey Oil Refinery, in Immingham, North Lincolnshire, which can process more than 200,000 barrels of oil a day.